Posted April 1, 2014
 
On Friday, the administration announced a proposal to reduce methane emissions, including a plan to lower U.S. dairy greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, according to an Agri-Pulse article available here.
 
The USDA, EPA, and the Department of Energy, along with the dairy industry will release a “biogas roadmap” in June outlining voluntary strategies to accelerate adoption of methane digesters and other cost-effective technologies.
 
The plan would also cut methane emissions from landfills, coal mining, and oil and gas systems.  Methane emissions make up almost 9 percent of all greenhouse gas emitted as a result of human activity in the U.S.  Since 1990, methane pollution has decreased by 11 percent, but “methane pollution is projected to increase to a level equivalent to over 620 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030 absent action to reduce emissions.”
 
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the National Farmers Union (NFU) praised the administration’s announcement. 
 
“This announcement validates the path the dairy industry is on – one focused on proactive incentives that can increase farm income, not punitive regulations that would add more costs,” said NMPF president and CEO, Jim Mulhern.
 
“NFU is pleased that the administration’s strategy to reduce methane emissions recognizes that farmers and ranchers are important partners in the effort to solve our nation’s climate challenges,” said NFU Senior Vice President of Programs Chandler Goule in a statement available here
 
Oil and natural gas companies were less enthusiastic about the announcement according to an article by the Wall Street Journal available here.  America’s Natural Gas Alliance and the American Petroleum Institute did not criticize the announcement, but “pointed out how the industry was already and will continue cutting its methane emissions without new regulations.”

 

For more information on climate change, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.