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The Times
  • Schumer: Farmers could get plowed under by ‘cow tax’

  • n the wake of a recent article that said the United States Environmental Protection Agency is considering a proposal that would impose a tax on “livestock emissions,” U.S. Senator Charles Schumer Tuesday called on the EPA to quash the potential “cow tax.”

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  • In the wake of a recent article that said the United States Environmental Protection Agency is considering a proposal that would impose a tax on “livestock emissions,” U.S. Senator Charles Schumer Tuesday called on the EPA to quash the potential “cow tax.”
    “These onerous fees could cost New York State farmers an estimated $120 million annually and put family farms at risk of going out of business,” said Schumer, D-NY, during a telephone conference call. “New York’s beleaguered farmers do not need another burden.”
    The Associated Press reported that, in the wake of a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that livestock gaseous emissions may contribute to global climate change and thus constitute a form of airborne pollution, the EPA is exploring the possibility of assessing a tax on certain farmers and ranchers. In addition to dairy farmers, the tax would be applied to other livestock as well, including beef cattle and hogs.
    The proposal, still in its preliminary stages, would impose a tax on farms or ranches having over 200 hogs, 50 cattle or 25 dairy cows, requiring them to pay a yearly charge of approximately $20 for each hog, $87.50 per head of cattle and $175 per dairy cow. The tax is applicable to farms whose livestock operations produce over 100 tons of carbon emissions annually and are subject to the Clean Air Act.
    EPA officials insisted last week that the lengthy, highly technical report, which mostly focuses on other sources of air pollution, does not include a proposal to tax livestock. John Millett, a spokesman for the EPA’s air and radiation division, said there has been an oversimplification of the EPA’s document “to the point of distortion” and that the “EPA is not proposing any type of tax on livestock.”
    The EPA briefly mentions “raising livestock” in its report on ways to regulate greehnouse gases under the provisions of the Clean Air Act.
    Farmers from across the country have expressed outrage over the EPA report, both on Internet sites and in opinions sent to the EPA.
    “These are fees that could put already struggling farms on the brink,” said Schumer. “The financial impact would be devastating to thousands of dairy and livestock producers in upstate New York. That is why I am pushing the EPA to put the kibosh on this potential tax.”
    The senator said that if the tax is installed, consumers can expect to pay more for dairy and beef products.
    “This goes in the category of ‘you can’ believe this,’” he said. “This proposal, which will impact New York from one end to the other, is so absurd that we have to put a stake through its heart immediately. Cows can’t change the way they are.”

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