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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

CA emission credits not well received by Midwest farm advocates

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Tuesday, March 19, 2024   

Community and conservation groups in the Midwest worry that a change in California's carbon emissions policy could hurt the quality of life in the nation's heartland. This week, regulators are considering an amendment to California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Oil and gas companies would be allowed to offset emissions by purchasing credits from producers of "greener" fuel around the country - specifically, methane captured from cow and hog manure. It coincides with a push to offer government incentives to build anaerobic digesters, the facilities used for this production.

Matthew Sheets, organizer on factory farm and policy development for the Land Stewardship Project, fears it'll lead to more factory farms in states like Minnesota.

"It's mostly a concern about what it's doing to the ag economy, and what it's doing to other farmers," he said.

Supporters of the amendment say their goal is to reduce carbon emissions on a national scale. Many big dairy farms, known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, are linked with digester projects. A 2020 report by Food and Water Watch found that, unlike human sewage, hog and cattle waste is not treated - so it can pollute groundwater and blanket downwind communities with a terrible odor.

Critics say those are some of the many effects industrial ag can have on farming communities.
Brenda Brink, with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, said California's system of emissions credits would allow factory farms to "greenwash" their carbon footprint and put renewable energy, like solar and wind power, at a disadvantage.

"Because it's such a sweet deal, it's pushing more and more production through factory farms. State governments see the sweet deal it is - 'Well, look, it's clean energy.' And so, it's just this huge P.R. thing that is not true," Brink explained.

And officials with the Land Stewardship Project point out the nation has tinkered with scaling up digesters in past decades, but the movement didn't have the same staying power as other forms of renewable energy.


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