I don't always agree with the legislation that comes out of Washington, D.C. – especially the environmental policies Congress has come up with lately – but every now and then the federal government surprises me.
On Thursday, both Houses of Congress passed the FY2010 Interior Appropriations bill. This legislation funds the Department of Interior, EPA and many other agencies overseeing the environment and public lands. Included in the bill is language that prohibits EPA from requiring livestock producers to obtain Clean Air Act permits to cover livestock emissions during the 2010 fiscal year.
Still, there is fear in many agriculture circles that EPA could later choose to regulate the natural emissions of livestock as it has with greenhouse gases from industrial sources. This regulation would likely force many producers out of business and, in turn, increase costs for consumers, and likely move more food production out of our country. This is why more needs to be done.
There is legislation pending in Congress that would make this prohibition permanent. S. 527, written by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), would statutorily prohibit the EPA from requiring Clean Air Act permits for livestock emissions. It is imperative that Congress move to pass this legislation quickly so America’s livestock producers do not have to worry about possibly adding another cost to the mounting input costs they already cover in order to provide us with the most affordable, most abundant and safest food supply in the world.