California Citrus Mutual, regulators offer clean air video - The Packer

California Citrus Mutual, regulators offer clean air video

09/11/2012 10:41:00 AM
Mike Hornick

California Citrus Mutual has a new video on agriculture’s contributions to air quality, created with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

The video, posted on YouTube, is “Growing for Clean Air." Industry spokesmen on camera include Dave Tomlinson, general manager of Griffith Farms; Etienne Rabe, vice president of horticulture at Paramount Citrus; and James Sherwood, vice president at Bee Sweet Citrus Inc., among others.

“What started out as a three-minute video tool has turned into a nine-minute promotion piece for the air district and our industry,” Joel Nelsen, president of Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual, said in a news release. “That partnership doesn’t always exist between government and industry, but with the air district it has happened.”

The state’s 285,000-acre citrus industry generates $2 billion annually, about 75% of it in the Central Valley. Since 1980 agriculture and other valley industries have cut emissions by 80%, according to the trade association.

“If you look at our history with the farmers, effectively we have been able to work with them to the point that they are the cleanest agriculture segment in the nation and in the world,” Seyed Sadredin, air district executive director, said in the release.

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Visalia, CA  |  September, 11, 2012 at 06:57 PM

This is an excellent example of what can happen when regulatory agencies work with, rather than against, agriculture to achieve a common goal. The SJV Air District and the Ag industry have worked together over the course of several years to develop programs that are feasible from a business standpoint AND promote cleaner air. Poor air quality affects every single person in the Valley. By working with industry to ensure the economic vitality of the agriculture industry is preserved, the SJV Air District and stakeholders have seen a dramatic decrease in emissions in the past thirty years. It was by working together in a true partnership, understanding the need for compromise and the importance of sound science when implementing regulations that have allowed industry, including agriculture, and the Air District to be successful. Unfortunately, the partnership between Ag and regulatory bodies is an all too uncommon one. Just a few weeks ago, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board held a meeting of all stakeholders for their proposed regulations for irrigated lands. The agriculture community turned out en masse. The crux of the issue – the CV Water Board has refused time and time again to work with Ag to create workable and reasonable regulations despite numerous attempts by industry to establish such a relationship. Instead, staff at the CV Water Board continually propose costly regulations and overlook the recommendations made by agriculture. The Air District has been a model agency in their quest to improve air quality in the Valley in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of agriculture, the driving force in the Valley economy. Thank You!

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