New California law forcing local dairy industry to drastically reduce methane pollution by 2030

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A new law in California calls for tougher pollution regulations on the dairy industry. (KFSN)

A new law in California calls for tougher pollution regulations on the dairy industry. Under SB 13-83 farmers will have to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions tied to cows by 2030.

Stephen Maddox has 3,200 cows producing milk on his dairy in Riverdale. It's a large operation, and naturally, there is pollution. Methane from the manure which Maddox said he's been trying to reduce for years.

"We compost manure to reduce greenhouse gasses, better cow comfort, different feeding technologies."

Under a new law signed by the Governor on Monday, Maddox will have to work harder. SB 13-83 comes with tougher regulations for the industry. It demands a 40-percent reduction of methane from 2013 levels by 2030.

"I'm not sure if that's possible. The anti-agriculture slash animal groups are probably tickled to death because they're gonna get their wish of pushing animal, agriculture, to somewhere else," said Maddox.

Maddox said as it is, dairies fold in this state on a weekly basis and some move out of state. Ultimately, he said, this could lead to a loss of cows and jobs.

"The milk is still going to be produced, but maybe overseas or somewhere else where they're not as efficient."

The Governor tied this in with the effort to fight climate change. Methane is just one of three targets, the other two are HFC gasses from aerosol cans and refrigeration and black carbon from cars and diesel engines.

For Maddox, it's one more regulation to worry about and he said he will have to adapt to survive.

We also talked with Wester United Dairymen and the CEO said this could hurt our industry's ability to compete globally. And this effort to reduce emissions won't be as effective if other countries don't follow suit.

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