Thune leads GOP senators in calling for USDA, DOE, EPA to resist taxing livestock emissions

Farm Forum

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) led a number of his Republican Senate colleagues last week in sending a letter to Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, calling on the agencies to refrain from regulating livestock emissions as part of President Obama’s proposed methane emission reduction plan.

On March 28, 2014, the president released his Climate Action Plan “Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.” The proposal calls on the USDA, DOE, and EPA to develop a plan in the coming weeks that would reduce dairy sector methane greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25 percent by 2020. If this plan leads to heavy-handed regulations or mandatory guidelines, farmers and ranchers would likely face a steep increase in production costs. Currently, the EPA is prevented from regulating GHG emissions associated with livestock production through an annual appropriations rider that expires at the end of each fiscal year.

The senators write: “The agriculture community is committed to environmental stewardship, which is evidenced by the 11 percent reduction in agriculture-related methane emissions since 1990. It is our hope that the EPA, USDA, and DOE will work with Congress and the agriculture industry to outline voluntary measures that can be taken to reduce emissions without imposing heavy-handed regulations on farms across America.”

Thune was joined in his letter by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and David Vitter (R-La.).