EPA Proposed Tax On Greenhouse Gas May Affect Farmers
LABELLE, FL. -- Farmers are worried that a change in federal environmental rules may bring added regulations to farms The Environmental Protection Agency issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on whether it is appropriate to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from automobiles under the Clean Air Act.
In order to regulate automobile emissions, the EPA would first have to make a finding that all greenhouse gases endanger public health and safety and should be classified as a pollutant. If that finding is made, all GHGs including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide would have to be regulated under the Clean Air Act, then possibly creating regulations of other sectors including agriculture.
The agriculture industry believes that once an endangerment finding is made, Title V of the Clean Air Act requires that any entity with the potential to emit more than 100 tons per year of a regulated pollutant must obtain a permit in order to continue to operate.
Farmers speculate that the vast majority of livestock operations would easily meet the 100 ton threshold and fall under regulation. According to ag industry spoke persons, the USDA has stated that any operation with more than 25 dairy cows, or 50 beef cattle would have to obtain permits. According to USDA statistics, this would cover about 99 percent of dairy production and over 90 percent of beef production in the United States.
The industry believes greenhouse gas regulation under the Clean Air Act would not only adversely impact livestock producers but all farmers. Crop production emits nitrous oxide from fertilizer and methane from rice production, and fields that emit 100 tons
of carbon would also be subject to permitting requirements as well.
Any Florida farm with 500 acres of corn, 250 acres of soybeans, 350 acres of potatoes or only 35 acres of rice would be forced to obtain Clean Air Act permits they say, as well as emissions from farm machinery and energy used in production might also be