Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is concerned about the plight of marathon runners under a cap-and-trade plan. No, we’re not making this up.

Barton, the ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee and a vocal climate skeptic, told conservative magazine Newsmax in an interview published on Monday that he is worried that regulating greenhouse-gas emissions under the Clean Air Act would lead to the regulation of everything under the sun — including marathoners.

An excerpt:

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Barton says the average healthy adult exhales between four-tenths of a ton and seven-tenths of a ton of CO2 a year.

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“So if you put 20,000 marathoners into a confined area, you could consider that a single source of pollution, and you could regulate it,” Barton says. “The key would be whether the EPA said that 20,000 people running the same route was one source or not.”

One indication that the EPA likely would consider 20,000 runners a single source of pollution is that the agency is trying to regulate waste-water runoff and emissions of drilling rigs in oil fields by attempting to define entire areas as a single source of pollution, Barton says.

Never mind that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has indicated she has no interest in regulating small sources — the agency’s regulations would target major industrial sources emitting at least 25,000 metric tons of carbon per year, as well as the transportation sector. And no, the “transportation sector” doesn’t include runners.

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