Earlier this month, California Air Resources Board released a Proposed Strategy to address Short-Lived Climate Pollutants. This proposed strategy aims to reduce emissions for pollutants that do have a shorter lifespan in the atmosphere, but have the potential to heat that atmosphere exponentially higher than what CO2 can. Some of the mitigation measures presented in the package by ARB include diversion of material from landfills, incentive investment in smaller communities, and a focus on the development of technology that could lower SLCP emissions. There are 3 major SLCP’s that are the focus of ARB in this proposed order. Black Carbon is the particulate matter generated by the burning of fuels, Methane is also a major contributor to SLCP’s, and fluorinated gases are considered one of the heaviest polluters in the SLCP inventory. Black Carbon is also represented in the Ag industry through the use of combustible on-road and off-road equipment. Methane is a major focus for the dairy industry, whereas fluorinated gases are a major concern for commodity groups throughout the state that utilize refrigeration transportation to ship and store their products.
The Association has been engaged with California Air Resources Board throughout their drafting process. The Association has taken the opportunity to comment on the Proposed Strategy on several occasions, through written submissions as well as testimony during workshops. One of the key points that the Association has lobbied for is the continued inflow of incentive funding to help replace older equipment, to newer and cleaner technologies. Incentive money dedicated to the Central Valley has already helped exceed expected emissions reductions tremendously. Incentive funding also goes towards replacing older refrigeration systems (fluorinated gas systems) and replacing them with newer, lower emitting systems. The Association has also pointed out that reductions efforts could be greater if biomass and co-generation plants remained operational. The lack of facilities have left growers with few answers on how to deal with removed orchards and vineyards, and one of the only solutions is to allow temporary burning of the material. Another point made by the Association focused on the overregulation of permitting on site composting operations. In order to compost on one’s own property, an applicant is required to obtain 4 separate permits from 4 different government agencies. The Association hopes to achieve a more streamlined approach to applying for a composting permit and contributing to the State of California’s Healthy Soils Initiative. Stay tuned for more updates.