SALEM — Proponents of legislation requiring new air regulations for Oregon dairies, Senate Bill 197, claim it merely implements recommendations from the 2008 Dairy Air Task Force, which was composed of agricultural and environmental representatives, among others.
Critics of the proposal argue the 2008 report didn't actually require any action and that emissions from dairies still aren't significant enough to justify new rule-making.
As a matter of fact, a lot of farmers have built digesters that turn manure into energy and fertilizer just because it's good business and reduces their costs.
Troy Downing, a dairy specialist at Oregon State University, testified that dairies have been pursuing odor reduction measures that also effectively curtail greenhouse gases.
Dairy producers have decreased protein rations in feed, which cuts nitrogen emissions "from the back of a cow," and many have installed biodigesters that capture methane for energy production, he said.
Especially odd is that some politicians point to a task force report that's nearly a decade old to justify passing the proposed regulations on the dairy industry. It's almost as though they don't understand that technologies tend to change rapidly. Or have they never seen a smartphone?