The Air Resources Board (CARB) voted unanimously to approve a plan to phase out all open agricultural burning by 2025 in the San Joaquin Valley. Anticipating the board’s decision, farm groups said they looked forward to working with the Air Pollution Control District as it develops a strategy over the next six months for implementing the ban.
Many at the full-day hearing supported some level of incentive funding to help farmers, especially small growers. Board member Dean Florez and others put pressure on the Newsom administration to add incentive dollars into the May Revise of the budget proposal. The costs for alternatives to burning will add as much as $2,000 per acre to vineyard operations, said Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen.
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Advocates and board members pushed for a better public notification system for those burns that are still permitted over the next 36 months.
Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, the legislative member of the board, recognized that environmental justice advocates in his Coachella district had been calling for this as well and suggested introducing a bill for statewide monitoring. CARB Executive Director Richard Corey beat him to it, saying he is already working on a regulatory pathway for statewide monitoring and will soon present his proposal to the board.