Three cabinet-level officials are assuring Republican senators that the Obama administration has no plans to regulate methane emissions from the agricultural sector or livestock.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and his colleagues in a letter that the Obama administration’s strategy to reduce methane emissions will seek only voluntary reduction measures from agriculture.
“Voluntary, partnership-based approaches to address emissions from agricultural sources have been shown to be effective, which is why the approaches for agriculture expand efforts to optimize and deploy waste-to-energy technologies and enhance manure management,” the officials wrote Friday.
The administration announced its strategy in March to cut down on methane, a potent greenhouse gas. While it may lead to new standards for natural gas drilling, it specifically called only for voluntary measures to reduce methane output from agriculture.
Nonetheless, Thune and 15 of his colleagues wrote to Vilsack, McCarthy and Moniz shortly after the strategy was unveiled to urge them not to add agricultural regulations.
“It is our hope that the EPA, USDA and DOE will work with Congress and the agriculture industry to outline voluntary measures that can be taken to reduce emissions without imposing heavy-handed regulations on farms across America,” Thune wrote.