September 29, 2022

Agriculture organizations urge Senate to pass Livestock Regulatory Protection Act

Agriculture organizations urge Senate to pass Livestock Regulatory Protection Act

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The Livestock Regulatory Protection Act would ban the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing permits under the Clean Air Act for any carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, water vapor, or methane emissions resulting from biological processes associated with livestock production. While the EPA has not proposed any so-called “cow-taxes” on greenhouse emissions from livestock operations, there is a concern that a move in that direction could be imminent. 

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has urged the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works to approve the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act. “American cattle producers’ commitment to reducing their environmental footprint while simultaneously improving efficiency makes our farms and ranches the most sustainable in the world. Unfortunately, overregulation and excessive permitting would jeopardize the cattle industry’s progress towards greater sustainability,” said NCBA Chief Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart. 

“NCBA strongly supports the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act, which protects farmers and ranchers from onerous regulation. We thank Senators John Thune (R-SD), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), John Boozman (R-AR), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) for their sponsorship, and we urge all senators to support this bill.”

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works recently held a hearing where Senator John Thune testified in favor of the bill. Thune noted that when he originally introduced the act several years ago, it had bipartisan support. At this time, it is unclear if the committee will advance the bill to the full Senate floor.

According to NCBA, the emissions in question are naturally occurring due to cattle’s biological functions. Cattle producers continue to employ innovative practices to mitigate the impact of these emissions on the environment. Overall, emissions from cattle production represent only a very small portion of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. For example, methane emissions from cattle account for just 2% of total U.S. emissions. 

"We do not need to burden our hard-working farmers and ranchers with onerous regulations and costly permit fees," Scott VanderWal, president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau and vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation told senators.

Read the Act here