Release 05-13      

June 23, 2005


Jerry Martin
Gennet Paauwe
(916) 322-2990
Air Resources Board Sets Stage for Large Dairy Rules

FRESNO -- The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today laid the foundation for reducing emissions from large livestock operations such as dairies, feedlots and poultry ranches. The move sets the stage for improving air quality in the San Joaquin Valley and other agricultural areas of the state heavily impacted by large livestock operations, where herds or flocks of animals can number in the thousands.

"This effort is the result of long-standing collaboration between the Air Resources Board, local air districts, the agricultural industry, the environmental community and academia," said Barbara Riordan, Acting ARB Chairman. "It's a critical step in our efforts to clean up California's air and protect public health."

About 63% of all California livestock emissions are in the San Joaquin Valley, while about 12% are in Southern California. Dairies contribute 82% of the San Joaquin Valley's livestock emissions.

Today's action by the ARB defines "large" confined animal facilities (CAFs) for areas that both meet and exceed federal ozone standards. The definitions, developed after extensive research and with input from local communities, environmentalists and the agricultural industry, are less stringent in areas that meet the standards. In attainment areas, large dairies would be defined as those with 2,000 or more dairy cows, while in nonattainment areas such as the San Joaquin Valley, large dairies would be defined as operations with 1,000 or more milking cows. About 36% of Valley dairies fall into this category, and they account for 72% of the Valley's dairy emissions.

Using new definitions approved by the Board today, local air districts will have until July 1, 2006, to adopt rules that require large facilities to reduce their emissions. Dairies and other affected businesses will have until January 1, 2007, to submit their emission mitigation plans, which then must be implemented by July 1, 2008. The timeline was established by Senate Bill 700 (Florez, 2003).

Emissions from dairies and other animal facilities can have a significant impact on local air quality. In the San Joaquin Valley, dairies are one of the largest sources of ozone-forming reactive organic gases (ROG), emitting 24 tons per day (tpd). The top sources are cars and light / medium trucks, emitting 71 tpd, followed by oil and gas production at 30 tpd, pesticides at 26 tpd and consumer products at 25 tpd. These gases are precursors to ozone, which is known to aggravate asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Asthma is a recognized health issue in the San Joaquin Valley, the state's largest agricultural area. When compared to the rest of the state, there is a 24% higher prevalence of asthma among San Joaquin Valley children, and a 19% higher prevalence of asthma in adults, as reported in the 2001 California Health Interview Survey, conducted by UCLA.

"We are confident that, with these new definitions, local air districts will now be equipped to address many key concerns of local communities when it comes to livestock emissions," said Riordan. "We are pleased and gratified that everyone's hard work has yielded this very positive outcome."

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.