California farmers claimed Tuesday that a law regulating cow flatulence passed by the state’s Democratic governor could decimate the state’s agricultural industry.
The law, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, was passed to help the state fight so-called man-made global warming, but the agricultural industry has come out swinging, arguing it will almost certainly kill off California’s once-thriving dairy farms.
“We think it’s very foolish for the state of California to be taking this position,” Rob Vandenheuvel, the head of the Milk Producers Council, told reporters Wednesday. “A single state like California is not going to make a meaningful impact on the climate.”
The regulations will cause dairy farms to migrate to states where labor costs and regulations are lower, said Paul Sousa, the director of environmental services for Western United Dairymen.
“It just makes it more challenging,” he said. “We’re continuing to lose dairies. Dairies are moving out of state to places where these costs don’t exist.”
California’s environmental resources board said the legislation was a crucial cog in fighting global warming.
“If we can reduce emissions of methane, we can really help to slow global warming,” said Ryan McCarthy, a science adviser for the California Air Resources Board.
The regulations may not have as big of an impact as environmentalists believe, mostly because methane emissions accounted for 10.6 percent of total U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions in 2014.
They are also a fleeting gas, unlike the greenhouse emissions from carbon dioxide, which can linger in the climate for longer periods of time
Methane emissions, which are released when cows belch or pass gas, cause approximately 25 times more global warming per unit of gas than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a time period of 100 years, according to the EPA.
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