Taxing Cow Farts
By Laura Rice
“”It is just an odorous fact… cows emit methane. But should ranchers be fined for that pollution? The Environmental Protection Agency is looking into it… in a proposal many have dubbed the “cow tax”. And while the proposal is still far from becoming law, area folks have already expressed that they think that the”cow tax” stinks. Texas Cattle Feeders Association has received a lot of concerned calls from area farmers and ranchers.It’s generated a huge number of phone calls and interest on behalf of our members and just agriculture producers as a whole, said Ben Weinheimer, TCFA Vice President. In a time where commodity prices are low and the overall economy is tough… fees as much as 30 to $40 thousand for a modest ranch operation are the last thing the industry wants to hear about.Profitability is as low as it’s been in a long time and so any additional costs at this point would be disastrous, said Weinheimer. The fate of the cattle industry closely ties into the future of Amarillo’s economy. More than a quarter of the nation’s fed beef comes from this area… totaling about a $15 billion impact on the economy when you count feed, sales and salaries. But do not count your losses just yet. ProNews 7 spoke with the EPA Friday and they said that they are not proposing a cow tax… that is not in their authority. They are simply looking into, among other things, the possible greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act. But that is little comfort to Weinheimer. Potentially with the right statutes or changes to statutes and changes to regulations there sure enough could be something like a “cow tax” in the future, he said. If the cattle, dairy and hog industries see new fees that also indirectly affects the local economy… because it will mean prices going up on your grocery bill.
The EPA, under the leadership of the Obama administration, seems to have a blank check to do as they see fit to protect us all from the apocalyptic events of imminent global warming, no matter what the cost is to the average American. Smaller cars mandated by the feds, cap and trade is on its way, and now cow farts.
My good friend who lives right down the street and is somewhat of an inventor, has several patents on some rather obscure items. Recently he has been feverishly working in his garage after reading a similar article on “cow emissions”. The other day he came by and showed me the product of his months of work, some of which was done under the cloak of secrecy. The device was small, about the size of a baseball and enclosed in a small black plastic case. Don, my friend, trembled as he showed me the small black box and began to explain how it worked. This device, he explained would burn off those terrible greenhouse gases before they melted the polar caps. The main component was a small computerized CH4 detector. For those who are not literate in chemistry CH4 is methane, the primary gas in cow flatulates. Don had installed a small spark igniter on one end of the device that would emit a spark when activated by the CH4 detector. Excited, he continued, saying that when installed near the rear end of a cow and CH4 was detected the activation would occur and a sudden flame would appear at the cow’s anus opening. Quickly he let me know he had already tested the unique device on his brothers nearby farm. He then described how he installed the black box and how he had followed the cow around the barnyard for several hours waiting for the moment, and at one time thinking he had failed. But then he face glowed as he described the great event. Suddenly, and without warning a long flame shot from the cow’s butt. Don said the cow was startled, but quickly regained her composure and continued as if nothing had happened. However, the same couldn’t be said for the bull who was following along behind sniffing as bulls often do.
Yea, the above paragraph is fiction, but the story is meant to point out something that many often overlook. The law of unintended consequences. Don had a great idea, but he forgot about the bull.
by Ron Russell