Notley’s climate plan amended to include hard cap on bovine methane emissions

EDMONTON, Alberta – After realizing that her recently unveiled climate strategy had left one stone unturned, Premier Notley quickly amended the plan to include a hard cap on bovine methane emissions. The changes include a progressive tax structure for livestock farmers whose cows emit methane that exceeds a hard cap set back the NDP’s newly formed Bovine Emission Enforcement Firm.

2P News reporter Rodecker Smith caught up with Premier Notley as she waited in line at a rhytidectomy clinic in Sherwood Park.

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Premier Rachel Notley

“How could I have possibly forgotten about an entire industry when devising my latest tax grab… errr… sorry… climate change strategy. Small town people and farmers are an integral part of the Alberta economy <she snickers>. As we all know, there are many sources of methane emissions in Alberta, mostly from poorly managed oil and gas operations, but what about the cows? Alberta sure has a lot of cows… I’m talking hundreds of them. Sure they provide tasty steaks, burgers, bacon, leather, eggs, and milk, but they also provide a gaseous emission that is detrimental to the ozone layer and I think the layer above that one, too. So this new tax is going to target the owners of these bovinians who think it’s okay because it’s just cows doing what they do. Well, it’s not okay, and I will make them pay.” – Rachel Notley, prepping for surgery

According to documents downloaded from the Government of Alberta website, the NDP’s new Bovine Ultralow-emission Limit Legislation (BULL) hits the following key points:

  • There will be a 20 megatonne per year cap on province-wide bovine methane emissions.
  • Every cow in Alberta will take its fair share of the cap based on a complex formula that includes the cow’s age, weight, and place of birth.
  • Emissions will be monitored by a new technology that includes WiFi connected RFID tags and sensors that estimate methane emission volumes by counting the number of each steamer, its length, volume, and loudness.
  • Taxes are automatically levied against farmers for any cow that exceeds its methane cap. The taxes are progressive such that cows that regularly exceed their cap are taxed at higher rates. Farmers who own repeat offenders will pay dearly.
  • In one noteworthy concession, the NDP has allowed farmers an exemption from the new tax provided their cows can be part of a bovine methane enhanced oil recovery program.

As is the case for many of Premier Notley’s policies, this new bovine emission tax does not sit very well with the majority of Albertans, and in particular with farmers. Henry Smithmayson, a 7th generation Stettler-based dairy farmer is ready to throw in the towel on the family business.

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Farmer Smithmayson, near Stettler, Alberta

“This is complete BULL, and I don’t mean that BULL, but BULL. Really, Notley? Really?! You are going to put a cap on cow farts? My profits are marginal as they are, so incurring any additional costs are going to sink me. There are no oil and gas fields around here, so I can’t do that methane EOR stuff, so I’m screwed. For now I’m going to incorporate fennel, gentian, and other natural herbs into my feedstock in an attempt to mitigate the emissions. Whay to go, Notley! Yet another tax.” – Farmer Smithmayson

When asked how she thinks the this new tax could possibly hamper Alberta’s livestock agricultural industry, Premier Notley replied, “Hamper what?!”