Committee Holds Bill Targeting State Methane Reduction Strategies

The bill that threatened to severely disrupt California’s methane emissions reduction strategy was sidelined last week in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Although the measure had been amended by the author just days before, CRTA and others from the renewable fuels and agricultural sectors remained opposed to SB 709 (Allen – D, Santa Monica).

This measure threatened to negatively impacted available incentives under the Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) program that enable dairy and livestock operations to effectively reduce their methane emissions in the most sustainable and cost-effective manner.

Methane is a highly potent Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) that has devastating effects on the atmosphere. California developed a strategy in 2016 (SB 1383) to reduce all SLCPs, including diary manure methane emissions, by 40 percent by 2030.

California dairy families have since embraced this challenge, deploying more than 120 dairy digester projects since 2016 with support from incentives offered under the LCFS, a successful fuel-neutral, market-based national model for how to decarbonizing fuels in the transportation sector. And their efforts are working.

According to a 2022 University of California, Davis report entitled Meeting the Call: How California is Pioneering a Pathway to Significant Dairy Sector Methane Reduction, “California’s dairy sector is well positioned to achieve a 40 percent reduction in methane by 2030.”

SB 709 as originally proposed would have undermined all this progress. It would have dramatically reduce important LCFS incentives that enable methane capture and beneficial use projects. The development of dairy digesters is widely recognized by California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) as a productive and cost-effective climate investment strategy. However, without the critical incentives, new projects will not be developed, and existing projects will become uneconomical and cease operation. Further, more than 2.2 million tons of GHG (methane) will be added to the atmosphere each year.

CRTA supports proven, efficient and cost-effective method to reducing methane from organic waste while avoiding leakage to other states.