Much at Steak in EPA’s Latest Beef

Bette Grande Heartland Institute
Published June 20, 2016

The recent release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 600-page methane rule was the latest skirmish in the war on methane, but the next battle will be felt at your supermarket. According to EPA, the oil and gas industry is the top methane offender, but livestock — especially cattle — is a close number-two, making ranchers and their cattle radical environmentalists’ next targets.

In November 2015, John Sutter wrote an article for CNN titled “Why Beef is the New SUV,” in which he stated reducing beef consumption is vital if the United States is going to play its part in limiting the increasing global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius as originally set out in the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Sutter then went into great detail about how this can be done and why it’s imperative. The “solutions” being studied range from requiring backpacks to be strapped to the backs of cattle to capture methane, injections to aid the cattle’s digest process, and genetically modifying cattle to produce less methane. Scientists at Modern Meadow are even attempting to engineer meat from cell cultures.

Sound healthy to you?

I have to admit I did not take the cattle-methane story seriously in the past. I was probably distracted by the New York Strip I was enjoying, but once I started to look carefully into EPA’s new methane rule for the oil and gas industry, I was surprised to find a large number of stories talking about how the dire need to control cattle methane. Progressives are laying the groundwork for the next step.

Left-wing media outlet Think Progress published a related article in March titled “Methane Emissions Spiking, But It Might Be More Cow Than Car.” In the piece, Brent Newell, legal director for the Center on Race Poverty and the Environment argues, “Decarbonizing what we eat is just as important as decarbonizing what we drive or what we use to heat our homes.”

My spellcheck does not like the word “decarbonizing,” and neither do I.

To decarbonize what we eat, the price of beef — as well as other “bad” food — must necessarily skyrocket; consumers will need to be nudged to decrease their consumption of beef. The Think Progress article states California has already started to regulate methane from livestock operations in the hopes of accomplishing this purpose.

Climate change alarmists are busy building their case against cattle farmers. A combination of scholarly sounding studies, environmental nonprofit research, and the green media are compiling the data EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will use as they turn their attention to your hamburger. The United Nations and the World Bank are already behind the effort.

The scary numbers cited vary significantly from article to article — which is not surprising since the “data” is mostly made up in the first place — but the solutions offered by the methane police are always the same: Make no mistake, your food is next.

And don’t forget if you are planning on grilling some beef for the July 4th holiday, radical environmentalists are discouraging you from using a charcoal grill, because burning charcoal releases volatile organic compounds and ground-level ozone that will supposedly destroy the world. Helpful green websites suggest propane or electric grills. Now, you might ask, “Where do the propane and electricity come from?” Oh, never mind.

We can laugh off the progressive left as they plant the seeds to remove beef from our diets, but we have to admit that they have an objective and a long-term plan to accomplish their goals. We are fools if we let these radical seedlings see the light of day. By then, it will be too late… again.

It is a lot to take in. I think I’ll drive home in my gas-guzzling SUV and fire-up the charcoal grill to contemplate things further. Steaks anyone?

[Originally published at the American Spectator]