Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cow Tax Proposal Rankles Ranchers

David Schechter
WFAA Channel 8 Dallas - Fort Worth
January 13, 2009

SAGINAW — Of all the problems on president-elect Barack Obama's plate, add this one: Beef.

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering rules to regulate cow emissions as a cause of global warming. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, comes from the manure of large animals like cattle.

Pete Bonds is a veteran rancher in Saginaw. He's one of many ranchers fighting the "cow tax" proposal, which is still in a early phase.

By some estimates, a methane permit could cost as much as $175 dollars per animal. And that could place a premium price on favorite foods like hamburgers and steaks.

"That takes us time, and that takes us money and cost to be able to do that," Bonds said. "Unfortunately, if it does, we're going to have to pass that on to the consumer — and we don't want to do that."

When it comes to climate change, some scientists say methane is worse than the carbon dioxide that spews from cars and factories.

But Bonds half-wonders whether the whole thing is just a vegetarian plot.

"If you've ever been in a room full of vegetarians, a lot of methane is being produced," he said. "I'm wondering if they're going to start putting a permitting process on them."

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