Letters to the Editor

Methane tax

February 20, 2009


To the editor:

Not all farmers and ranchers are opposed to a reasonable methane emissions tax on livestock. As a farmer and rancher, I think a tax on livestock methane emissions would be a good start toward including the currently externalized environmental costs of raising livestock and an essential step in moving toward a more sustainable food system. The $87.50 for every head of beef cattle that the American Farm Bureau claims the EPA wants to impose on farmers would translate to less than 20 cents per pound in the grocery store.

Far from being “unthinkable” or “ridiculous,” developing and imposing taxes on greenhouse gases is perhaps the best and maybe the only way to get all of us to stop living in denial and start developing more sustainable agriculture, transportation, housing and energy production technologies and practices.

Our current system is not sustainable, and we must find ways to stop externalizing the environmental costs of our way of life. How do we make these changes? Voluntary “free market” incentives do not have a strong record of protecting our common biosphere. Who would the farmers interviewed for your Feb. 9 article, “A penalty for polluting animals?,” have pay for livestock methane emissions? Who should pay for the carbon emissions of a coal plant? Do they deny that these costs are real?

As things are now, we are pushing those costs on to our children and grandchildren. I hope we can begin soon to carefully consider how we all must pay.

Wayne A. White,


labmonkey 8 years, 9 months ago

This guy has been huffing too much of the methane.

lionheart72661 8 years, 9 months ago

Now the EPA taxes the farmer $87.50 per head for cow farts!!!! This trickles down to the consumer at .20 cents a pound to an already high cost of beef. Cows have been farting since the beginning of time and will continue to fart until the end of time. Even some humans produce methane gas when they fart. (i just googled it) So now do we hire a "fart patrol" and ticket people? Here is an idea: we cork the cows butts so the don't pass gas.

devobrun 8 years, 9 months ago

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

The guilt we must all share is overwhelming. Free markets, agriculture, energy. It is an endless guilt trip.

It puts Jewish mothers and the Catholic church to shame.

I can make more computer programs for you Mr. White. They will predict anything you need to feel guilty.

Religion has the sex-guilt thing wrapped up. Environmentalism has pollution-guilt.......hm.

I know! The sun is at it's lowest output in centuries. The last year or so, the sun has emitted the fewest charged particles and has the least sunspots since the early 1800s.

It's your fault Mr. White. Ra is not happy with your farting cows. Repent, the end is near. You must say 3 hail Ras and send your mother a box of chocolates.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 9 months ago

"Now the EPA taxes the farmer $87.50 per head for cow farts!!!!"

Actually, they don't, and the EPA has said it has no plans to do so. The notion that they will do so is yet another propaganda campaign from the Farm Bureau, which is controlled primarily by major agribusiness corporations who regularly whip smaller farmers into hysteria so they'll do big agribusiness's bidding.

cowboy 8 years, 9 months ago

" Don't mess with my toot toot , stay away from my toot toot"

CLARKKENT 8 years, 9 months ago


Jason Bailey 8 years, 9 months ago

A Farmer has bought into this hysterical nonsense.... I honestly thought farmers were the salt of the earth and had more common sense than the average bear. Guess I was wrong.

Wayne: How in the world will taxing cows for flatulence help keep the earth from growing warming (this assumes that Gore's religion is true)? This is a ponzi scheme of the highest order and you're now asking all of America to bend over and grab the ankles so that Priests in Gore's religion can get rich.

Jason Bailey 8 years, 9 months ago

Wayne: Please explain what you mean by "externalized environment costs" You use it over and over in your LTE and I think you heard some talking head on TV say it. Sounded smart, didn't it?

This is coded mumbo jumbo that means absolutely nothing. Externalized vs. internalized. Please do explain since it apparently is the key to achieving panacea and forgoing a cataclysm of fire and hell on earth from cow farts.

Chris Ogle 8 years, 9 months ago

Tax on farts... lets see here... yep I would be broke.

cowboy 8 years, 9 months ago

Its also a reaction to the NAIS registration which tracks cattle from originating farm to retail outlet . This was started as a food safety issue but all of the safety issues have been because of negligent "mongo butchers ". Cattle raiser's are rightly a bit paranoid. Any additional gov't cost on raising cattle could pretty much kill off the domestic operations and we'll all be eating brazilian beef. If you do most everything right you can make about $300 a head raising cattle. We have lost a lot of domestic herds this past year due to the ethanol / corn price fiasco so it is a tenuous industry now. doesn't take much to push some growers over the edge. buy your beef from a local farmer and just Fart On !

samsnewplace 8 years, 9 months ago

I originally heard about this story at the Hospital surgery waiting room and personally I thought the old farmer had lost his mind, laughed my head off just thinking about what a stupid thing to actually be true. The next thing, I read it in the paper....the old farmer wasn't nearly as mental as I thought but i'm thinking the government has lost it totally now to tax animals for farting. What's next? OMG.

Brian Laird 8 years, 9 months ago

XD40 (Anonymous) says… "We keep getting good data that GHG forced global warming is a hoax based on the religion of fascist environmental politics:


You cite a non-peer reviewed paper that relys on a large number of assumptions (each of which favorable to their point) to massage the raw data to give the answer that they want.

A major tip-off that this is a crank report is that at the beginning of the report it is stated that "Warning: this paper was rejected by Nature and Science and may prove hazardous to your research grant". Now, most papers are rejected by Nature and Science - even correct ones. The proper response to being rejected by Nature or Science is to resubmit to another journal - usually a field specific one. However, this doesn't seem to be the tactic here - the authors submit to Nature or Science and when it is rejected, as indeed most papers are, instead of resubmitting the authors claim that they are being repressed by the science establishment - this really reminds me of the scene in Monte Python's Holy Grail where King Arthur encounters the peasants: "Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"

TopJayhawk 8 years, 9 months ago

You don't want to tax mine. Mine smell good. It's roses man.

devobrun 8 years, 9 months ago

For those of you who don't recognize the emotional appeal of the global warming crowd, read this:


Al Gore addressing the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science. He calls them to arms.....politically. Not scientifically, but politically.

His message is one of fear and warning. It is strident. Such a message isn't worthy of being delivered at a scientific meeting. Yet, it was. It was greeted with rapt attention.

Science is lost.

I went to the Engineering Expo at KU this morning. Engineering is lost, too. Guilt-ridden Microsoft engineers building a mansion above Monterrey, California. They used "green" technologies for their multi-million dollar mansion. They talked about "free" energy. It was sad. My students laughed at these poor (rich) people.

Their message to students was to pick up the "green" technology banner and see us through to a new world. It was a joke. It lasted too long also.

As an engineer, I feel like I am living through a nightmare of irrational science-speak. The funny thing is that most of the 17 and 18 year-old kids are becoming very skeptical of the droning, unceasing mantra of "green" this and "green" that. It truly has become a one-note Samba.

Kids know when they are being shined. Eco-types, you are losing them. You are sounding way too much like the old fat men in horned-rimmed glasses of 1962. There will be a rebellion of the youth. It will happen. Dunno when, but the old fogies are settin' this up just like what I saw in the 1950s.

Al Gore is cool? Hahahahaha.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 8 years, 9 months ago

I don't know about all this, but I know one thing. I am not paying for cow dung. Next you will be taxing farts. Thank you, Lynn

Scott Drummond 8 years, 9 months ago

For those posters who apparently do not see the link between cow flatulence and global warming. Overpopulation means more mouths to feed. More mouths mean more beef being produced. More beef means more gas. More gas means global warming.

One sensible solution would be birth control and family planning assistance throughout the world, but we all know the loons don't believe in that either.

Jason Bailey 8 years, 9 months ago

@scott3460: Your post is the type of idiocy that we've come to expect from the left. Bacteria around the world produce more methane through natural processes than cows every will yet we're not calling for a massive sterilization of the planet? Your sides' selective taxation to fill government coffers, all in the name of saving us from fire and hell of gore's religion, is laughable.

I can connect the dots to a half dozen impending cataclysms, just as you did. It's actually simple to do and over simplifies the issues involved.

Bob Burton 8 years, 9 months ago

If they are going to tax that, then Dodge City needs to be taxed for the gas they burn @ there Turd Ponds.. What a waste!!

devobrun 8 years, 9 months ago

scott3460 : Translation of your comment.

I wish I was never born. I feel guilty about humanity. The earth will die and it will be our fault.

Better than killing myself, I ask you to refrain from having babies. There, I feel better now. I am sensible and you are a loon.

Tony Kisner 8 years, 9 months ago

I agree with the LTE writer. This is just another example of how going green can actually spur economic activity. The issue will be resolved quickly by developing clean farting cows. I can see a device attached to the hind quarters of the cow which would ignite the methane as it is released. This is not some far out, future idea, my college roomie used to light his flatulence all the time. I can also see where the methane could actually be sequestered into underground salt caverns and later used as fuel to heat both personal dwellings and industrial uses.

Clean farting cows, it’s the future.

Scott Drummond 8 years, 9 months ago

"scott3460 : Translation of your comment.

I wish I was never born. I feel guilty about humanity. The earth will die and it will be our fault."

Actually, devo, I am quite happy to be here. What this planet needs, however, is several billion fewer of us. Family planning and birth control are one way to go about that. Wars, famine and disease are another.

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