500 pages of proposed rules could affect ag dramatically


April 4, 2002 - Capital Press

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board released a 48-page summary of possible regulations and future studies March 16 that could dramatically affect agriculture.

The summary represents about 10 percent of the overall package, however, and the California Farm Bureau Federation plans to ask the board to delay acting on it until at least September.

“It’s pretty overwhelming,” said Cynthia Cory, Farm Bureau spokesman. Leafing through the 500 pages of statistics, assertions and recommendations, Cory said it includes sweeping generalizations, unrealistic proposals for which technology may not be available to implement, and may not be cost-effective.

Among the proposed regulations that may go to the board are:

Reducing emissions from livestock waste through anaerobic digesters, reformulation of feed, overhaul of waste-management practices and incineration programs. Several types of digesters are designed to reduce odors and bacteria. While some are in use in the United States, the imperfection of early systems, cost of building them and lower farm values slowed interest in them.

Requiring new forklifts under 4 tons that are sold or rented in the state to be electric to eliminate emissions inside warehouses and factories.

requiring all portable diesel engines to be replaced with new engines or retrofitted with emission-control systems.

Developing a registration-and-inspection program for existing off-road equipment to detect excess emissions.

Revising regulations governing truck refrigeration units to require diesel particulate filters, new engine-performance standards, use of alternate fuels or electrification.

The board has scheduled several workshops and seminars for April to educate the ag industry about the proposed standards and to solicit input.

Cory was skeptical about the workshops, suggesting they were geared toward telling industries what the state plans to do than to elicit input. The Farm Bureau will be represented at the meetings with the hope state officials will better explain the regulations and be open to input.

She remains concerned about reports that the state at least considered implementing “no-spray” pesticide days in the San Joaquin Valley, even though the state has since indicated it doesn’t plan to recommend them for dealing with pollution.

A four-day technical workshop begins April 2 at California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Sacramento.

A summary of the technical workshop will be presented April 8 in Fresno at the San Joaquin Unified Air Pollution Control District Office. The workshop will be available through videoconferencing capabilities at the Bakersfield and Modesto offices of the district.

Community meetings will be held April 9 at the Carson Community Center and April 11 at the Association of Bay Area Governments office in Oakland. Call Sharon Anderson, (916) 323-6576.

The proposed Clean Air Plan was to be presented to the board during its April 25 and 26 meeting in Sacramento, but the desire to receive more input from ag may delay its presentation at least a month.

“The proposed plan will describe the emission-reduction programs we intend to develop during the next decade to reduce the emissions that create ozone and inhalable particles, as well as emissions of carbon monoxide and multiple air toxics,” CARB Chairman Alan Lloyd said.

Even if approved by the board, there is still a long haul ahead before the rules would be implemented, Cory said. The new policies would have to go to the Legislature to become law and go through numerous hearings.

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