A federal effort to fight greenhouse gas emissions could have a big impact on Missouri farmers. The Environmental Protection Agency is discussing the idea of imposing what is jokingly referred to as a "cheeseburger tax" or "cow tax" on certain farm animals as a means of curbing greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Kelly Smith, Director of Marketing and Commodities with the Missouri Farm Bureau, says an EPA proposal of this kind could cost farmers in the range of about $175 per dairy cow to about $20 per hog.

Smith says the idea originated with climate change advocates who claim farm animal flatulence is helping to destroy the planet. He points out the EPA does have some regulatory authority to impose rules without congressional approval, and he fears extreme environmentalists – many of whom favor this idea – would have a friend in the incoming Obama Administration. He cautions that while the EPA insists it has no intention of doing this, nobody can be sure because the idea came from within the EPA to start with.

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