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Chicken Little ideology now rules California barnyards
dennis Wyatt web
Dennis Wyatt

Cows fart. Cows belch.

It's all part of nature's plan.

In the not-too-distant future you are going to either see less cows or possibly exploding bovines.

It's all courtesy of the "Chicken Little" global warming crowd that finally succeeded on Aug. 31 in putting a big target on California cow flatulence.

Sacramento is now dictating that cow flatulence is to be regulated providing experts determine technology exists to reduce it. The time is ripe to invest heavily in Gas-X stock.

Before you get the idea that lawmakers are being sophomoric, the brokered legislation embraced by the Cap-and-Trade King Jerry "Cal Worthington" Brown also includes aggressive targeting of cow manure.

Some experts say methane gas released from cow manure is responsible for 5 percent of California's greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing it down to 3 percent would be the equivalent of taking a million cars off the road in California.

To that end, the deal hammered together exclusively by Democrats directs $50 million to reducing dairy methane out of the $1.4 billion in revenues the Golden State collects on polluters in the form of cape and trade fees.

The cap-and-trade spenders note that dairy methane is a super polluter. Brown concurs.

One might assume that the $50 million would go toward funding the building of more methane digesters that convert cow manure into electricity although that isn't specified in their grand spending program. Since we are dealing with Sacramento politicians you should never assume taxes on polluters will go toward addressing the worst source of pollution by definitions that they embrace. Some 20 percent of all cap-and-trade revenue is going to fund high-speed rail on the speculation it will get a sufficient number of people out of their cars and paying $100 per person to travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco to justify the expense.

If this seems mumble jumble to you, the bottom line is this: Lawmakers have just written state regulators/bureaucrats a blank check to go after California's 5,000,000 dairy and beef cattle. The only restraint is that experts have to produce the technology to make it all possible.

This will not turn out good.

There are reasons why cows belch and cows fart. They belong to a group of mammals known as ruminants, of which many like sheep, goats, deer, and giraffes have four stomachs that allow them to regurgitate food and eat their cud. Microbes in the stomach that make the process possible is what generates methane gas.

Now for the zinger: New Zealand's Crown Research Institute has data that shows almost 95 percent of the methane gas generated from cows comes from burping and not their behind. If that holds true then trying to reduce the 30 to 50 gallons of methane gas a cow generates in a typical day by targeting manure alone will likely disappoint in terms of the ultimate results.

Lawmakers have just given regulators the green light to re-engineer cows - read that genetically to tinker with them not to make them healthier and more productive - to change the basic way that they eat.

In a world where environmental perfectionists have people up in arms about so-called Frankenstein foods, California lawmakers managed to pull a fast one.

State regulators can come up with any solution that makes it feasible to reduce cow burping and/or farting and dictate that it be used.

The California State Legislature writing a blank check for regulators is nothing new.

But to do so when it involves a living thing such as a cow is a new level of irresponsibility even for them.

We are not just talking about greenhouse gas. We are talking about a key source of food.

There is no balance when it comes to climate change.

Yes, it exists. It is why science shows oceans have receded and expanded over billions of years long before 5,000,000 cows popped up in California. It is a reason why scientists say many species in the past have died off.

It is foolish to ignore climate change. It is equally foolish not to temper our reaction to it.

Politicians can make all the eloquent speeches they want and broker any deal they like but in the end messing with the natural order of things without giving equal thought to how solutions can boomerang through the ecological system is extremely reckless.

Sacramento on Wednesday gave regulators the power to hammer dairies into submission. All they have to do is come up with the technology.

How that technology may impact the quality or quantity of milk production or the overall health of the cow isn't important.

It's all about global warming.

Chicken Little now rules California barnyards.

This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.