CARB Releases Final Draft of 2022 Scoping Plan
Last Wednesday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released the final draft of its 2022 Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality. The document is not itself a regulatory or policy document, but rather lays out a vision for the strategies the State could employ to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. CARB officials have referred to the Plan as a “North Star” while acknowledging that achieving its goals may be “challenging.”
While the State has previously set goals to phase out the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars by 2035 and of fossil fuel-powered heavy-duty vehicles by 2040, the Scoping Plan suggests that even these ambitious (and potentially unachievable) goals are not enough. The Scoping Plan suggests that Californians must reduce their driving by one-third; critics point out that Californians have never met driving-reduction goals, and that driving has actually increased.
The Scoping Plan takes a somewhat-inconsistent view of livestock grazing. On the one hand, the Scoping Plan points to livestock enteric fermentation emissions, suggesting that the State needs to continue to invest in “continued improvements in production efficiency and…enteric mitigation strategies…to support dairy and livestock methane emissions reductions.” Troublingly, the Scoping Plan suggests that a strategy for achieving emissions reductions would be to “Accelerate demand for dairy and livestock product substitutes such as plant-based or cell-cultured” products.
On the other hand, the Scoping Plan seems to recognize the value of livestock grazing for reducing fire fuels and limiting catastrophic wildfire-related greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, the Plan calls for “prescribed grazing…to support soil carbon sequestration” and utilizing “livestock to consume vegetation to reduce fuel loads…in forests, grasslands, and shrublands.”
CARB will consider adopting the 2022 Scoping Plan at its December 15 meeting. CCA is reviewing the Scoping Plan, and will continue to provide feedback to CARB regarding the document. As noted above, the document is not self-executing, but rather will form a strategy for later policy and regulatory proposals upon which CCA will also provide advocacy feedback.
Permittee Feedback Encouraged for USFS “Range Futuring” Effort
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is undertaking a strategic planning effort the agency dubs “Range Futuring,” seeking input from stakeholders such as grazing permittees to understand what the agency is doing right, what “isn’t working so well and what might be working OK now but might not work so well in the future.” Permittees are encouraged to submit feedback via the online Forest Service Rangeland Management Permittee Questionnaire no later than November 30. USFS has also announced that it will host a webinar on December 13 at 9:00am Pacific to solicit feedback on its Range Futuring efforts. For more information or to register for that webinar, click here.
UPDATE: Midterm Election Results Continue to Take Shape
Nearly two weeks after Election Day, the results of several state and federal races continue to trickle in.
The only statewide election which had not been called as of last week’s Legislative Bulletin update – the State Controller race between Republican Lanhee Chen and Democrat Malia Cohen – was called for the Democrat, Cohen, last Tuesday. As of Friday, Cohen led Chen by a margin of roughly 55%-45%.
Democrats are currently projected to hold at least 31 seats in the 40-seat State Senate – the same number the party held prior to the election. In the Dem-on-Dem race for SD 8, the more moderate Angelique Ashby was leading Dave Jones by 3,407 votes as of yesterday. In SD 16, Democrat Melissa Hurtado was trailing Republican David Shepard by 3,033 votes. Several races remain outstanding in the State Assembly, though Democrats appear poised to moderately expand their existing supermajority in the chamber.
On Wednesday, Republicans won control of the U.S. House of Representatives, securing 218 seats in the 435-seat chamber. It was a call in California’s 27th Congressional District that put Republicans over the line, with incumbent Republican Mike Garcia’s victory over Democrat Christy Smith. As of yesterday, the Republican margin in the House was projected at 219-212, with four seats not yet called. Two of those outstanding races are in California, where Republican John Duarte was leading Democrat Adam Gray by 865 votes in CA-13 and incumbent Republican David Valadao was besting Democrat Rudy Salas by 4,547 votes in CA-22 as of yesterday.
The leadership picture in the 118th Congress is beginning to take shape, as well. Last week, the Republican caucus nominated California’s Kevin McCarthy to be Speaker by a vote of 188-31, though he will need to secure 218 total votes in January to lead the chamber. California Democrat Nancy Pelosi announced last week she would step back from leadership, paving the way for New York’s Hakeem Jeffries to become the presumptive Minority Leader.
As reported last week, Democrats retain control of the Senate with 50 seats to the Republicans’ 49; the one outstanding race, between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia, will be determined via a December 6 runoff election.
CCA will continue to keep members apprised as election results are finalized.
CDFW Confirms Several Wolf Depredations in Siskiyou County
Last Tuesday the California Department of Fish and Wildlife released seven wolf depredation reports, including three investigations confirming livestock kills by Siskiyou County’s Whaleback Pack. At least two of those depredations were suffered by one ranch – along with a third depredation previously investigated on October 18.
On October 21, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) investigated a suspected wolf depredation after a rancher found a yearling heifer cattle carcass in Eastern Siskiyou County. Even with foxlights in place after the depredation on October 18, Siskiyou County wildlife specialists confirmed the yearling was killed by wolves early that morning. Wolf tracks were present, and the location suggests the Whaleback Pack is responsible for the October 21 depredation.
On October 23, CDFW investigated a suspected wolf depredation on the ranch that previously suffered the October 18 and 21 attacks. To avoid further loss, two producers monitored their cattle overnight and chased off nine wolves circling a cow and calf around 4:20 am. The calf involved was later found dead and investigated by Siskiyou County wildlife specialists. The large tooth rakes and muscle hemorrhage on the flanks led CDFW to confirm this event as a wolf depredation. Wolf tracks were found near the carcass and the October 23 depredation occurred within the Whaleback Pack area.
On the morning of November 9, ranch hands discovered a 650 lb calf carcass with large external tooth rakes and muscle hemorrhages consistent with wolf attacks on private land in Eastern Siskiyou County. Ranch personnel reported this to CDFW and Siskiyou County Wildlife specialists confirmed this calf was killed by wolves early that morning.
In addition to the several confirmed wolf depredations in October and November, a few incidents were reported and confirmed as non-wolf depredations after further investigation. On October 27 in Southern Siskiyou County, a calf was discovered with injuries consistent with that of a coyote attack. The following day on private timberland in Southern Siskiyou County, a 700 lb. yearling was found dead with no evidence of wolf predation. Siskiyou County wildlife specialists deemed the more likely cause of death was pneumonia based on the calf’s lung conditions. On November 2, two dead calves were noted during night patrol in Eastern Siskiyou. No tooth marks or signs of hemorrhage were found. CDFW and Siskiyou County wildlife specialists attributed these deaths to natural causes.
Please fill out the survey on the CDFW Gray Wolf web page here to report evidence of wolf presence, including sightings or wolf signs.
SWRCB Updates Curtailments in Multiple Watersheds
Except as noted below, temporary curtailment suspensions in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta watershed have been extended due to recent precipitation. Please continue to monitor the Curtailment Status List for relevant updates.
As of last Wednesday, curtailments remain in place on several tributaries of the Sacramento River. Water rights remain curtailed on the Cache Creek subwatershed with a priority date of 1856 or later, on the Stony Creek subwatershed with a priority date of 1930 or later, on the Bear Creek subwatershed with a priority date of 1942 or later, on the Yuba River subwatershed with a priority date of 1961 or later and on the Putah Creek subwatershed with a priority date of between 1945 or later.
Additionally, within the San Joaquin River watershed, curtailments remain on the Fresno River subwatershed for water rights with a priority date of 1914 or later, on the Stanislaus River subwatershed with a priority date of 1923 or later and on the Chowchilla River subwatershed for water rights with a priority date of 1959 or later.
The State Water Resource Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Agriculture held a webinar on last Tuesday to address funding for farmers and ranchers impacted by drought conditions in the Scott and Shasta River Watersheds. Click Here to find a recording of that workshop.
For questions about curtailment and suspension notices or assistance completing the Compliance Certification forms, please contact the Rancher Technical Assistance Program at (916) 409-6902 or email@example.com.
Cattle Markets Series, Workshop 2: Stephen Koontz
Join us virtually or at the Nugget Casino Resort Nov. 30 from 4:00-5:00pm for the second event in series of free workshops on cattle markets. Stephen Koontz, a Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University, will present on price determination and price discovery in the fed cattle markets and relevant impacts on rancher profits.
This workshop is open to all at no cost. If you would like to attend this meeting in person click here for the address to the Nugget Casino Resort. The presentation will be held in Nugget Ballroom One.
To participate in the meeting virtually, click here to register for it via Zoom.
California Beef Cattle Improvement Association (CBCIA) wants your input
The California Beef Cattle Improvement Association (CBCIA) is in the process of drafting a strategic plan. In forming the plan CBCIA would like input from its members, stakeholders and affiliates about their affiliation with the Association and how it has benefited you over time. To complete the survey, click here. Surveys are to be completed by Wednesday, Nov. 23rd.