April 1, 2014

April Fools!

When you read the title of this missive, no doubt it dawned on you: "Oh, yeah. It is April Fool's Day. Let's see what this fool has to say today."

I hope you want to read further, because I am not joking. The government wants to beef up (no pun intended) revenue by regulating the methane gas produced by cow flatulence which will cost tax payer money AND raise the price of meet and dairy products drastically.

Assuming we are all grown up and not fixated on flatulence as a child's game, let's look at the facts.

Agriculture is responsible for an estimated 14 percent of the world's greenhouse gases. A significant portion of these emissions come from methane, which, in terms of its contribution to "global warming," is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

The U.S. Food and Agriculture Organization says that agricultural methane output could increase by 60 percent by 2030 [Source: Times Online]. The world's 1.5 billion cows and billions of other grazing animals emit dozens of polluting gases, including lots of methane. Two-thirds of all ammonia comes from cows.

In reality, cows emit a massive amount of methane through belching, with a lesser amount through flatulence. Statistics vary regarding how much methane the average dairy cow expels. Some experts say 100 liters to 200 liters a day (or about 26 gallons to about 53 gallons), while others say it's up to 500 liters (about 132 gallons) a day. In any case, that's a lot of methane, an amount comparable to the pollution produced by a car in a day.

What to do about all this "pollution"? The White House has the answer.

Since a 2012 study charting greenhouse gas emissions was released, the EPA attempted to blame cows for global warming. As part of its plan to reduce these emissions, the Obama administration is targeting the dairy industry to reduce methane gas in their operations. This comes despite falling methane emission levels across the economy since 1990.

The White House has proposed cutting methane emissions from the dairy industry by 25 percent by 2020.

Although U.S. agriculture only accounts for about 9 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, it makes up a sizeable portion of methane emissions — which is a very potent greenhouse gas.

Environmentalists have been pushing the Obama administration to crack down on methane emissions for some time, arguing that they drive global warming and pollute the air and water. Activists have argued that the methane leakage rate from natural gas operations is 50 percent higher than the EPA estimates.

Staying true to his base, Obama is willing to oblige. What was once the staple of late night comedy and bad movies is now becoming a reality, as the administration is bowing to pressure from environmentalist groups and plans to require dairy farmers to prevent their cows from “passing gas.”

The issue at hand involves the extent to which cows and other animals, including humans, produce methane gas in the form of flatulence. The White House is now appearing to take the issue so seriously that it plans to make the dairy industry reduce the amount of methane produced by cows by 25 percent by 2020.

For small farmers who would be forced to comply with the regulations, the issue is no laughing matter either.

The EPA says that of all domestic animal types, beef and dairy cattle were by far the largest emitters of methane. “During digestion, microbes resident in an animal’s digestive system ferment food consumed by the animal,” the EPA notes. “This microbial fermentation process, referred to as enteric fermentation, produces [methane] as a byproduct, which can be exhaled or eructated by the animal.”

The attempt to regulate what has been a staple of American agriculture going back to the founding of the country may strike some as odd, but it is not the first time the EPA has proposed regulating a common element featured on all farms.

In 2011, the EPA admitted under testimony before Congress that it had the authority to regulate dust on farms. We will all be in trouble if they try to regulate the dust in our houses. House cleaners will enjoy job security though.

As it would have been with Barack Obama's program of Cap and Trade (when he said electric bills "would necessarily skyrocket,") watch as Obama's "Cow Fart" EPA regulations force the price of meat and milk to go through the roof.

When your grocery bill more than doubles again, ask yourself who the fool really is, the Obama Administration, or the consumer who sits by thinking how ridiculous this article may be while Obama makes it increasingly harder to eat.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.