Recent Press Releases

Thune Introduces Cattle Tax Ban

Measure would protect agriculture producers from erroneous tax on livestock emissions

December 15, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune on Thursday introduced legislation designed to block a recent environmental proposal which could regulate many South Dakota farms and ranches. Thune’s legislation would exempt farms and ranches from the onerous regulatory requirements of the Clean Air Act. Specifically, the legislation calls for an exemption for any emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, or methane resulting from agricultural production. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently outlined proposed rules which set forth plans to regulate greenhouse gasses after a Supreme Court decision compelled the agency to act.

“This type of activity is why commonsense South Dakotans are skeptical of government and agencies like the EPA,” said Thune. “Not only would these types of taxes on livestock operations impose burdensome financial penalties on producers, they would in turn substantially increase the price of food in this country. The Clean Air Act was designed to target smokestacks in industrial America, not South Dakota farmers and ranchers. This is a clear case of a federal agency going too far.”

The 570 page Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by EPA highlights how greenhouse gasses would be regulated, and if applied to agriculture producers, could result in a tax or fee of nearly $90 per head of cattle for operations of as few as 50 head of cattle, $125 per dairy cow on operations of just 25 cows, and $20 for each hog on farms with more than 200 pigs. The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation have already submitted comments opposing the regulation.

Senator Thune plans to reintroduce the legislation at the beginning of the next Congress in January and has already reached out to colleagues who plan to join him to ensure that Senate action is taken on this legislative proposal.