Urging California Air Resources Board to Regulate Factory Farm Emissions

In 2014, the Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted a petition for rulemaking urging the California Air Resources Board to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from factory farming under the state’s cap-and-trade program.

Updated

June 29, 2017

Work Type

Regulation

Status

Victory

ARB committed regulating the dairy industry’s gas emissions

Next Step

California is legally obligated to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to stave the devastating effects of climate change. The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 requires California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In 2017, the California legislature extended the law to reduce emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

In 2014, the Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted a petition for rulemaking urging the California Air Resources Board (ARB), the agency within California’s Environmental Protection Agency charged with improving air quality, to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from factory farming. Previously, ARB inexplicably exempted factory farming from regulations designed to meet California’s greenhouse gas emission goals. The Animal Legal Defense Fund subsequently submitted several additional comments to ARB, continuing to ask the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from factory farming as the agency investigated ways to decrease California’s methane emissions as part of its Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy. Farmed animals account for 59% of California’s methane emissions.

Partly in response to the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s advocacy, ARB formally committed to regulating the dairy industry’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. The regulations are under consideration and scheduled to be implemented in or around 2024.

The purpose of these regulations is to reduce methane emissions that primarily come from animal agriculture in California. This is believed to be the first time that a governmental body — state or otherwise — will directly regulate greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture, and positions California as a leader in combating climate change.

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