Skip to comments.CA: Pollution authority halts flow of money to dairies
Posted on 10/26/2004 7:14:03 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
SACRAMENTO (AP) - The California Pollution Control Financing Authority voted Tuesday to temporarily halt funding dairy projects and to adopt standards to ensure that future funds improve air and water quality.
The 90-day moratorium puts applications for $25.6 million on hold for five San Joaquin Valley dairies as the authority looks into how $65.9 million in low-interest loans were issued for 18 dairy projects that may have led to expansions and created more pollution.
"We want to be improving the environment, not harming it," said Treasurer Phil Angelides, chairman of the authority. "It's very clear that there are air quality issues being created by the expansion and building of dairies in the Central Valley."
The mostly rural San Joaquin Valley south of Sacramento is the nation's most productive dairy region and has some of America's worst air pollution. Cow manure is considered a significant source of air pollution by regulators, but the industry questions the statistics used to reach that conclusion.
Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, said the vote by the authority will close a "mega-loophole" for megadairies. He said he planned to introduce legislation in December that would provide further environmental protections and change the composition of the authority's board.
The legislation would add representatives from the state air and water boards to the three members currently on the board: the treasurer, the state controller and a representative from the Department of Finance.
It would also ban any tax-exempt financing for large animal farms that are considered major polluters. Florez said dairies were able to get funding by showing that they wouldn't send any waste to landfills - something dairies don't do.
He said the funding allowed them to buy more land and increase the size of their herds.
"There's a mega-loophole in this whole authority," Florez said. "They forgot to ask the ultimate question, 'What's the impact on air and water quality?'"
Dairy industry spokesmen said the money was used to improve waste management on farms, curbing dust, odor and water pollution and the funds were not used to add cows and acreage.
"Every penny of that money was spent on very legitimate pollution control devices that both improve air and water quality," said Michael Boccadoro, who works with a dairy public relations group.
John Shehadey of Bar 20 Partners Ltd. in Fresno County, which applied for $14 million in low-interest loans covered by privately issued bonds, said he and his father and brother planned to double their herd from about 7,000 cows.
Anti-pollution measures include upgrading roads to reduce dust, lining manure lagoons to prevent leaks and installing pipes to irrigate crops with wastewater.
He said the herd size could be doubled with or without those improvements - it's just cheaper with the bond money.
"It's a typical knee-jerk political action," he said of Tuesday's vote. "It's just shortsighted."
Angelides said he thinks financing for the dairies was legal, but that some of the information provided by applicants was wrong. He said the big problem was the policy that allowed the funds to be approved.
The motion approved 2-0 by Angelides and Controller Steve Westly put a 90-day halt on funding dairy projects and required the board's staff to draft rules ensuring future dairy projects only receive financing if they improve water and air quality and go beyond what is required by pollution regulators.
Staff would also develop incentives for dairies to take innovative advanced pollution control methods.
Board member Bob Campbell of the Department of Finance abstained.
On the Net:
Pollution Control Financing Authority: http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cpcfa/cpcfa.htm
any ideas 8-/ ?
Bottle it and sell it to the FRench as California perfume?
Since when is a simple bad smell considered air pollution? Now, the manure smell rising with the tule fog can get pretty ripe, but pollution?
California cares more about cow poop than illegal aliens, especially among Democrat lawmakers who dominate the legislature.
The dairies would be better off without government funds and without government regulations
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