2009-06-11 / General Stories

EPA Regulatory Proposal Will Harm U.S Farmers and Ranchers

The U.S. Cattlemen's Association (USCA) last week sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Members of Congress opposing the EPA's proposal to use the Clean Air Act to impose stringent regulations on our small businesses.

The proposal would, for the first time, define greenhouse gas as an endangerment to public health, which would "expose every sector of the U.S. economy - especially the agricultural industry - to unprecedented legal action," according to the letter.

"Since methane emissions - a type of greenhouse gas - are a natural byproduct of cattle and other livestock, the U.S. cattle industry could be subject to an onslaught of unfair lawsuits, as a new wave of litigation could be created by the EPA's findings that blame livestock producers for a litany of health problems," the group wrote. "The resulting costs of this legal liability, or even the costs of simply preparing for potential litigation, could run many farmers and ranchers out of business at a time when they are coping with one of the worst economic recessions this nation has ever seen."

According to an analysis by USDA, even small ranches and farms would fall under the EPA's microscope. For example, a dairy operation with 25 cows, a ranch with 50 head of cattle, swine operations with 200 animals and a corn farm of 500 acres would all cross the 100 ton-per-year threshold, thus triggering costly greenhouse gas regulations. In addition to registering its opposition with the EPA, USCA is looking to rally the agricultural community against the proposal, which has a condensed public comment period ending June 23. An issue brief sent by the cattlemen to numerous farm and livestock organizations urged groups to get engaged by 1) requesting a 120-day comment period instead of a 60-day comment period so all interested parties have a chance to weigh in, and 2) submitting a comment to the EPA opposing the proposed health endangerment finding."

Members of USCA will be in Washington, DC, next week to meet with lawmakers and administration officials about the EPA proposal and other issues of importance to America's ranchers.

Established in March 2007, USCA is committed to concentrating its efforts in Washington, DC to enhance and expand the cattle industry's voice on Capitol Hill. USCA has a full-time presence in Washington, giving cattle producers across the country a strong influence on policy development. For more information go to www.uscattlemen.org.

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