The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) a workshop this week on the PM2.5 SIP in Fresno. This follows right on the heels of the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) workshop less than a week ago. Again, agriculture is one of the sources listed as a target for further controls. The meeting began with the SJVAPCD indicating that farming operations make up 23% of the PM2.5 emissions on an annual basis, and 18% during the critical winter months. As a result, the SJVAPCD identified the following control measures on agricultural operations for consideration:
- Evaluate further practices that minimize dust from wind erosion and soil disturbances (could include tree nut harvesting)
- Evaluate all feasible opportunities for additional reductions from Conservation Management Practices (CMPs)
- Assess economic feasibility of lowering NOx emission limits for ag irrigation pump engines
- Avoid relaxing prohibition on ag burning
- Increase funding for incentives to replace ag tractors, pump engines and trucks
The Association’s President/CEO Roger Isom was one of only two agricultural representatives to testify at the hearing. Isom raised questions on the emission inventory highlighting research that has been conducted in recent years demonstrating that PM2.5 emissions from agricultural operations was insignificant, and this is demonstrated in the information provided by CARB and the SJVAPCD in their own presentations where the monitor used to monitor air quality where measuring less than 2% geological material (dust)! Isom then made the following points on behalf of agriculture:
- We oppose any new CMP requirements that cannot be demonstrated through peer reviewed research that significant PM2.5 emissions reductions are achievable, and if so, they are demonstrated to be cost effective.
- We oppose the proposed Healthy Soils Initiative as an approach until such time as the state can streamline the bureaucracy to an acceptable level and avoid composting operations having to get 4 separate permits from 4 different agencies.
- We oppose any new regulations on ag irrigation pump engines, since many of these engines were just upgraded to Tier 3 or Tier 4 under the existing regulations.
- We support incentive funding and support for pyrolysis and gasification technology advancement, and commit to working with the SJVAPCD and CARB on this matter.
- We wholeheartedly support the use of incentives and commit to assisting the SJVAPCD in securing additional funds to incentivize the replacement of ag equipment
Workshops will continue for the next few months, as the plans moves forward towards adoption in the fall.