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Environmental nannies can’t regulate cow farts — yet


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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.


cows-and-biogas-plantSigned into law by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown last week, 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.Scissors-32x32.png

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