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in the KNOW

May 8, 2015

Ag Council Testifies on Emergency Water Conservation Regulations

In early May, Ag Council President, Emily Rooney, testified before the State Water Resources Control Board (the Board) on the emergency regulation mandating water reductions in urban areas.

While many think agriculture does not participate in this program, some of Ag Council’s food processing members utilize water from municipal sources. Additionally, as an example, some farmers in the San Diego area utilize municipal water for agricultural production. Ag Council highlighted the need for water for food safety purposes and emphasized a willingness to work with the Board in order to address those needs.

As background, Governor Jerry Brown issued an Executive Order on April 1, requiring the Board to issue a mandatory statewide 25 percent reduction of water usage in urban areas. Implementation of this program begins June 1.

Ag Council Comments on CalRecycle Composting Regulations

On April 21, California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) released a revised proposal for the Compostable Materials, Transfer/Processing Regulations for a 15-day comment period.

In a May 6 comment letter, Ag Council expressed appreciation that CalRecycle addressed some of our members’ concerns with a revised definition of land application and the inclusion of the agricultural by-product material definition.

However, Ag Council remains concerned about the proposal adding another layer of regulation where there is already adequate environmental oversight from another authority. In particular, Ag Council urged CalRecycle staff to provide more clarity regarding the need for the proposed regulations as they pertain to dairy farms and to include our recommendations.

Click HERE to read Ag Council’s letter highlighting our concerns.

Air Board Releases Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Concept Paper

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released a concept paper on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) on May 7. In 2014, SB 605 was signed into law requiring ARB to develop, in coordination with other state agencies and local air districts, a comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions of SLCPs. As background, SLCPs include methane, black carbon and fluorinated gases.

ARB’s release of the concept paper marks the first step in developing that strategy. A public workshop is scheduled on May 27 to discuss the concept paper and overall strategy development and Ag Council is engaged in this process, given this issue affects agriculture.

ARB is fast-tracking the development of an initial draft strategy through public workshops over the summer. The draft strategy will be presented to ARB in the fall and will include specific actions over a broad array of economic sectors.

Click HERE to read the concept paper.

Next week….

Among other activities on the regulatory front, Ag Council is participating in the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) workshops on May 12-13 regarding Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) to ensure our members are represented.

CDFA’s objective at the workshops is to hear presentations on different strategy types and to discuss the feasibility and applicability of each strategy. CDFA then plans to identify and develop recommendations on reduction strategies for SLCPs to share with the California Air Resources Board for consideration in the SLCP mitigation plan that is underway.