California’s 1.5 million cows do.
And given that they generate over 30 million tons of manure a year and the fact one cow can emit between 100 and 200 liters of methane gas per day, they have been the target of government efforts to improve air quality for the past few years.
Experts contend methane gas is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon monoxide.
That’s why environmentalists have done a full-court press to regulate cow flatulence. Essentially they are requiring dairies to get permits to allow their cows to urinate and pass gas. The target is ammonia — which is in urine — and methane gas which is a component of cow chips.
The more sensible solution has been a push for digesters to convert cow manure into energy. But that doesn’t do much about methane gas releases via flatulence.
Dairy cattle apparently are the root of all air pollution in the Western Hemisphere according to environmental zealots who drive old VW buses that belch tailpipe exhaust like a cheap cigar.
The aim is to get farmers to lower manure emissions. Regulating dairies is nothing new. The state water quality control folks are all over dairy farmers like flies when either urine or manure works its way into a drainage ditch. That’s why they require levees and such around dairies.
Targeting methane has made cows eco-criminals on the same level as Detroit horsepower in the minds of some. This could get Mother Nature a big Environmental Protection Agency fine.
Instead of tackling the real problems such as directing growth and forcing changes in urban areas where much of our pollution is generated, regulators have been going after the state’s 1,500 dairies that happen to produce milk needed to feed the state’s 38 million people. The experts say a typical person passes between 0.5 and 1.5 liters of gas. It’s a combination of gases including methane. So should human gas passing be regulated as well?
You probably thought for years that Elsie the Cow probably had a hidden agenda to slowly kill those humans who gave her those ridiculous eyelashes. Payback time in the world of cows can be a real stinker.
If you think this doesn’t concern you then try this one on for size: Your family dog and cat are the next logical targets.
Don’t laugh. There are more dogs and cats in Cow-la-fornia than happy cows that are mooing, giggling and passing gas. Yes, cows may be more concentrated but when the truth comes out they probably create barely a whiff as opposed to the accumulative effect of dogs and cats. Manteca alone is estimated by animal control officials to have 10,000 dogs. That’s a lot of methane and ammonia. And one doesn’t have to begin to tell you about cat urine.
Stand aside and let the state bureaucracy regulate cow bowel movements with complete abandon and your dog is next. There could come a day when the air quality folks start charging you $100 a year to keep a dog and $50 per year for a cat. Those fees should generate enough revenue to man a bureaucracy to create even more ways to over regulate your life in the name of environmental perfection.
Politicians lack the courage to go after two-stroke gas-powered yard equipment that the Diamond Bar Air Quality District in Southern California has determined is the second biggest source of specific types of pollution behind jet emissions in the L.A. Basin. The challenge is to come up with off-beat things to over regulate that have a small constituency so it isn’t too risky for the brave politicians to go after.
That’s probably why Mr. Ed clams up whenever anyone asks him about why he and his brethren emit methane.
But why stop at cows, horses, and dogs? What about the politician greenhouse effect? The hot air emitting these days from California politicians is enough to defoliate an entire rain forest.
The state must mandate systems that allow the hot air to be captured instead of released wantonly into the atmosphere over the Golden State.
Potential uses of pollution from politicians include filling hot air balloons with gas, the Goodyear blimp, and to create toxic warfare chemicals although the Geneva Convention folks probably wouldn’t be happy if the U.S. used such vile a gas as that emitting from the mouths of California politicians.
Given how much some of them talk when a microphone is stuck in front of them, the 120 legislators could replace San Onfroe Nuclear Power Plant. California political gas is probably more detrimental to air quality than all the cows in Cow-la-fornia, Wisconsin and Holland combined.
Then there are gas-powered scooters.
There are no catalytic convertors or mufflers on these hideous modes of transportation that make leaf blowers sound like soft serenading music. Besides that, they pollute and most of those who ride them do so with complete disregard and contempt for traffic rules or the safety of other people.
The air pollution reduction may be minimal but the politician who gets a law banning them in place could probably be elected governor for life.
It’s time to spread the pain. Dairy farmers are already being hit hard with pollution rules that they have to absorb while operating on razor-thin profit margins. Perhaps its time those of us who bellyache about the high price of milk should get the same treatment as dairy farmers when it comes to regulating flatulence generated by our families and pets.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-249-3519.