Central Valley residents condemn decision by Assembly Agriculture Committee to block legislative solution to environmental justice harms on Californians living near dairies

Promoting factory farm gas as a “clean energy” solution to unchecked methane creation and emissions is a tragic example of state-sponsored pollution. We need to stop regulatory exceptionalism and prevent dairies from profiting while severely harming disadvantaged communities.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2024

MEDIA CONTACT
Jill Hindenach, jhindenach@leadershipcounsel.org, 202-494-6309

Statement from Central Valley Defenders of Clean Air and Water

MERCED, CA — For years, many communities in the Central Valley living like ours with environmental burdens from nearby dairies have advocated for a change to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), a program incentivizing factory farm dairies to increase their pollution. Today, despite representing many such residents, the Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Assemblymember Esmeralda Soria (D-Fresno) took the extraordinary step of pulling Assembly Bill 2870, authored by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) and co-authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), from public hearing. The bill addressed one of the most egregious ways that California climate policy prioritizes corporate profits over health and safety. More than 40 community-based, environmental, and science-based organizations support AB 2870. 

The state’s LCFS provides credits for methane gas captured from massive dairy manure cesspools, giving dairies more money for more cows and more manure while ignoring impacts on nearby communities. In our communities, we’ve seen how these incentives encourage dairies to grow, polluting our air and water and destroying our quality of life.

What we would have shared with the committee today is that the public health impacts from dairies and factory farm gas production and deployment hurt us all. Our families, friends, and neighbors’ breathing complications, nose bleeds, and headaches have gotten worse and worse. Meanwhile, California is giving away billions of dollars in subsidies to factory farm gas technology and infrastructure, without requiring emissions reductions as is required for other polluting industries.

We also would have told Chair Soria and her colleagues that digesters aren’t helping. Our air smells like ammonia, burnt gas, and manure. The smell is strong, especially during relentless summer heat, and swarms of flies descend on our homes, filling fly traps by the thousands. 

Over many years, we have engaged in countless meetings with local and state representatives about our concerns only for our efforts to be blocked or ignored over and over again. And while we are deeply disappointed in our Central Valley representatives for siding with Big Ag and Big Oil, our fight for clean air and water in our communities does not end here. 

Promoting factory farm gas as a “clean energy” solution to unchecked methane creation and emissions is a tragic example of state-sponsored pollution. We need to stop regulatory exceptionalism and prevent dairies from profiting while severely harming disadvantaged communities. California must stop sacrificing environmental justice communities to meet climate goals. AB 2870 would have been an important step in that direction. We thank Assemblymember Muratsuchi for fearlessly working in partnership with environmental justice communities on real climate solutions. We also thank the bill’s co-sponsors, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability and the California Environmental Justice Alliance, for their unwavering support and dedication to prioritizing the health of our communities.

###

Central Valley Defenders of Clean Air and Water is a coalition of community residents throughout the San Joaquin Valley living near and facing impacts from concentrated animal feeding operations. The Defenders promote and enforce policies and practices that decrease pollution, degradation of the environment, and other negative impacts from dairies on vulnerable communities and the region. 

Share the Post:

Recent Posts

Factory farm gas is not the climate future we need. It locks California into a dangerous status quo that will...
Assembly Bill 2870 would require the California Air Resources Board to correct its inaccurate characterization of factory farm gas as...
en_USEnglish