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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ICYMI: Environmental Nannies Can’t Regulate #CowFarts Yet

Editorial Cartoon, AF "Tony" Branco
by Erin Clark: First off, let’s clear the air: California’s latest climate change law doesn’t limit cow farts, exactly. Not yet, anyway.

What it does do is throw another heaping pile of regulations and oversight at industries that are already regulated six ways to Sunday.

Signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, the law sets goals for emission reductions from “short-lived climate pollutants” — like methane — by 2030 and for a 75 percent statewide reduction in the disposal of organic waste by 2025. Brown called the law, which follows on the heels of two recent measures scaling-up emissions reductions goals and increasing legislative oversight of the efforts, “the critical next step in our program to combat climate change.”

California’s crackdown on flatulent Friesians won’t cool the planet a millionth of a degree. But for the state’s over-regulated dairy farmers, it’s just one more kick in the udders.

“This bill is very troublesome from our perspective,” says Anja Raudabaugh, CEO of Western United Dairymen, who says that state regulations predating the new law place the full brunt of the measure on the backs of dairy farmers. Pre-existing regulations control prices on dairy products such as milk and butter, meaning that farmers are not allowed to charge prices reflective of the greatly increased cost of production.

Taking the nanny-tested, nanny-approved spoonful of sugar approach, the new restrictions are accompanied by a $50 million subsidy, funded by the state’s cap-and-trade program, to help dairies pay for acquiring anaerobic digesters, which help break down manure and reduce methane output.

But the subsidy won’t cover the cost.

According to the darirymen’s group, digesters run $2 million a pop — a huge financial burden for smaller operations. Moreover, for any one digester to have a substantive impact on methane reduction, it has to be used on a farm with a large number of cows. A single digester requires 400 cows worth of manure input to be economically sustainable — that is, being able to produce enough biogas to pay for the digester and its maintenance.

For small, organic dairies, the new law could be a death knell. Raudabaugh cited a 23-month decline in California milk production, in large part a result of dairies closing their doors and fleeing over-regulation.

“This bill should be a concern to the average person looking to provide a healthful, affordable meal,” she said.

Dairy’s carbon footprint is already shrinking, but apparently not fast enough for Brown.

The new law’s accelerated timetable would mandate a 40 percent reduction in methane emissions by 2030 in addition to a 50 percent increase in composting in the next four years. Moreover, the California Air Resources Board has been given increased authority to adopt and enforce air-quality policies.

And where do cow farts come in?

Restrictions on enteric emissions — that is, belches and farts — were negotiated out of the final bill, mostly because the technology to reliably control them does not exist.

But the law does give the Air Resources Board the authority to require the “monitoring and reporting of emissions.”

And while it includes provisions that allow the board to push back deadlines if they prove as unfeasible as Raudabaugh predicts, she is “not optimistic that the ARB will live up to its promise there.”

Meanwhile, the search for a technology to aid regulation of methane emissions from cow farts continues. When it becomes available, you can bet that Brown, the Air Resources Board and California’s other nannies will be ready to do what they do best, and regulate the crap out of air quality.
Erin Clark is a Fall 2016 Journalism Intern for

Tags: Erin Clark, Watchdog, Environmental Nannies, Can’t Regulate, #CowFarts, Yet, Cow Gas, Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, EPA, Cow Farts, methane emissions To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:05 PM - Post Link


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