Today, Food & Water Watch submitted a complaint on behalf of the Stand Up to Factory Farms Coalition to California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) asking it to invalidate the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits Oregon’s Threemile Canyon Farms’ factory farm gas digester generated while violating Oregon air quality law. The air pollution violations are the second in fourteen months at the facility, Oregon’s largest factory farm. Repeat pollution at the mega-dairy comes as state lawmakers consider gutting a popular Factory Farm Moratorium Bill with an amendment that would exclude dairies.
Citing the well-documented pollution, public health, and environmental justice concerns with Oregon’s mega-dairies, the Stand Up to Factory Farms Coalition sent a letter from 50 organizations to state lawmakers this week, urging passage of SB 85-1. The bill to enact a moratorium on the largest factory farms of all kinds for eight years has seen nearly 3-to-1 public support. Threemile Canyon opposes the bill, citing its digester as proof of its environmental accolades. A recently proposed -3 amendment would limit the provisions of the Factory Farm Moratorium Bill to apply only to poultry factory farms, and shrink the moratorium to only two years.
According to Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Threemile Canyon’s digester project violated its air quality permit for several periods from October 9, 2021 through at least May 13, 2022; and June 1, 2019 through at least September 30, 2020, releasing illegal amounts of fine particulate matter pollution, which contributes to numerous human health problems. DEQ fined Threemile Canyon $36,900 for the violations, yet has proposed weakening air pollution permits at the facility, essentially making its past violations legal going forward — seven groups in the Stand Up to Farms Coalition blasted the proposal earlier this year.
The complaint urges CARB to initiate an enforcement action, invalidate all of Threemile Canyon Farms’ unlawfully generated credits, and revoke Threemile’s certification so it can no longer generate LCFS credits. California’s LCFS is a program that allows factory farms to sell lucrative credits associated with factory farm gas production.
Food & Water Watch Staff Attorney Tyler Lobdell issued the following statement:
“Oregon’s mega-dairies are a well-documented threat to public health and the environment — and the state’s largest factory farm leads the pack. A moratorium on factory farms in Oregon would be foolish to exclude mega-dairies. The Oregon legislature must prioritize their constituents’ clear demands over the interests of corporate polluters and pass SB 85-1. What’s more, California must not continue to reward this bad actor under the LCFS given its repeated permit violations and harm to Oregonians.”
The Factory Farm Moratorium Bill has been scheduled for a possible work session on Monday, March 27.