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County Board Punts to Planning Commission On Clean-Air Issue

Healthy Dairy Commission Supports Emission Limits, Buffer Zones to Protect

Public Health

FRESNO, Calif., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fresno County Board of Supervisors decided on Tuesday to defer action on a crucial proposal for improving the Central Valley's air quality until after it is heard at a Planning Commission meeting-leaving unanswered the question of whether dairy - - related pollution will continue to grow.

The Fresno Healthy Dairy Commission had sought a separate ordinance establishing tough but sensible standards to reduce emissions from new and expanding large dairies in the county. These operations are expected to bring 35,000 new dairy cows in Fresno County over the next five years.

However, the board did not direct its staff to do anything other than stick with the pending ordinance, which lacks the standards necessary to lead to a significant reduction in dairy pollution.

"While it's disappointing that the Board of Supervisors did not direct staff at this point to create air standards and buffer zones for mega-sized operations, we're hopeful that the board or planning commission will amend the ordinance when it comes before them," said Mary Savala who chairs the Fresno Healthy Dairy Commission. "Without sensible controls and buffers, these major polluters will be allowed free entry into our community. As one of the smoggiest counties in the nation, we should be raising the bar as high as possible to protect public health."

The draft ordinance currently being considered by the county's Planning Commission lumps all dairies, regardless of size, into the same category. As a result, unless the commission or board decide to change the draft, large, corporate dairies will be allowed to pollute Fresno County under the pretense of protecting the economic viability of small dairy operators.

Research on air pollution caused by dairies in Fresno County has shown that cost-effective solutions can help reduce their emissions. The commission is calling for approval of an ordinance that includes those solutions, including enclosed barns and covered manure lagoons, for new and expanding large dairies in the county.

The Fresno Healthy Dairy Commission is a coalition of Fresno County parents, doctors, caregivers, clergy and educators committed to protecting public health and preventing air pollution from mega-dairies.

CONTACT: Sabina Gonzalez

(559) 304-2462

SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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