Yesterday, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) held a workshop in Fresno on the PM2.5 State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD). And as we warned a few weeks ago, agriculture is being called on to do more. Agriculture is being looked at for additional emission reductions from the following categories:
- Ag Tractor Rule – replace ag tractors and harvesters (particularly almond harvesting equipment) for both NOx and PM2.5 reductions
- More stringent engine standards for agricultural pump engines (beyond tier 4 and cleaner natural gas engines)
- A new low-NOx standard for heavy-duty diesel trucks (beyond ARB’s current Truck Rule)
- Alternatives for ag burning
- Additional Conservation Management Practices (CMPs)
- Additional restrictions under Regulation VIII for fugitive dust
The Association was the only agricultural group in attendance, represented by President/CEO Roger A. Isom and Director of Technical Services Christopher McGlothlin. Isom also testified at the meeting reporting that incentives are absolutely critical and necessary for the agricultural community due to their inability to pass along the additional costs. Isom further commented that USDA NRCS already had a program to incentivize the low emission nut harvesting equipment and that the Association is working to develop a similar program with the Air District. In addition, the Association also pointed to significant research performed recently to more accurately determine PM2.5 emissions from agricultural operations and that data showed that PM2.5 emissions from almond harvesting equipment, cotton gins and other operations are insignificant. Additional workshops and meetings will occur in January and February.