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SARL Members and Alumni News

Pennsylvania commits to Paris Agreement climate goals; state’s plan calls for 80 percent carbon cuts by 2050

NPR | Posted on May 1, 2019

Pennsylvania joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bi-partisan group of two dozen states committed to goals outlined in the 2015 U.N. Paris Climate Agreement. Gov. Tom Wolf announced the move at an event in Harrisburg while releasing the state’s latest Climate Action Plan, which includes 100 ways to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. The cuts are based on 2005 emissions levels. The Paris Agreement committed countries to reduce carbon emissions in order to prevent global average temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. President Trump has said he will withdraw the U.S. from the accord.“In the absence of leadership from the federal government and the wholesale dismantling of national climate and environmental policies,” Wolf said, “I am proud to join with states that are leading the way toward new climate solutions.”Pennsylvania becomes the 24th state to join the bipartisan group.


Canadian farm exports hit new Chinese obstacles amid diplomatic dispute

Yahoo | Posted on May 1, 2019

An expanding list of Canadian farm exports is hitting obstacles at Chinese ports, leaving sellers of soybeans, peas and pork scrambling amid a bitter diplomatic dispute. China has already blocked Canadian canola from Richardson International and Viterra, two of Canada's biggest farm exporters, saying that shipments had pests. Other China-bound canola cargoes have been cancelled, forcing exporters to re-sell elsewhere at discount.Canadian politicians have said the concerns are baseless, and noted that China detained two Canadians after Canada arrested an executive of Chinese telecom company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in December at the United States' request. China has used non tariff barriers before during diplomatic tensions, most recently against Australian coal.Now traders say Canadian soybeans and peas face unusual obstacles. Ottawa also warned last week that China was holding up pork shipments over paperwork issues.


It's 'go time' for Washington hemp, advocate says

Capital Press | Posted on May 1, 2019

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Friday loosening restrictions on growing and processing hemp, though farmers still will need to buy a license from the state and submit harvested plants for testing. For the first time, Washington farmers will be able to get seeds without federal approval and produce hemp for CBD oil. The bill also eliminates a 4-mile buffer between hemp and marijuana fields that made much of Washington off-limits to hemp.Industrial Hemp Association of Washington lobbyist Bonny Jo Peterson said she was elated with the outcome. "Under this bill, hemp will take off," she said. "It is completely go time."Washington has 11 licensed hemp growers, compared to about 750 in Oregon. Washington was more cautious about getting ahead of federal law and also gave marijuana growers the right to displace hemp farmers to prevent cross-pollination.Taking effect immediately, Senate Bill 5276 responds to a change in how the federal government classifies hemp.


Louisiana Truth in Labeling Bill Moves Forward

Louisiana State Legisture | Posted on April 25, 2019

 Read by title and passed by a vote of 34 yeas and 0 nays; ordered reengrossed and sent to the House.Food manufacturers selling products such as "cauliflower rice" could face new labeling restrictions in Louisiana, under a bill in the Legislature.The Senate voted 34-0 Monday (April 22) for a “truth in labeling” measure that adds protections for meat, rice and sugar producers.Sen. Francis Thompson, a Delhi Democrat, says he wants to ensure consumers know what they're buying.His proposal is similar to legislation signed in Arkansas. It would ban companies from classifying lab-grown meat products or meat substitutes as meat, or they'd face fines. They would be unable to call something sugar if it doesn't come from a plant-based simple sugar or sucrose.


Nberaska Solar Schools Project

Kearney Hub | Posted on April 25, 2019

Nebraska Solar Schools has been awarded $31,250 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for a pilot project within its Solar Energy Education and Development Program: 100 Solar Energy Kits for 100 Nebraska Schools.The focus of the new pilot project is on K-12 schools in Nebraska towns and cities that have developed or plan to develop solar projects, including rooftop solar, solar farms or other installations.The cities and towns in the pilot project’s focus group include but are not limited to: Kearney, Lexington, Loup City, Ainsworth, Aurora, Central City, Chadron, Fremont, Gothenburg, Grand Island, Hastings, Hemingford, Lincoln, Norfolk, Omaha/Fort Calhoun, O’Neill, Pawnee City, Schuyler, Scottsbluff, South Sioux City, Superior, Venango/Grant and York.The purpose of Nebraska Solar Schools’ Solar Energy Education & Development Program is to provide resources for K-12 teachers to facilitate integration of more solar energy education into their classrooms or after-school programs.


Ohio nuclear subsidy bill designed to undermine wind and solar, experts say

Energy News Network | Posted on April 25, 2019

Analysts say legislation to subsidize Ohio’s nuclear plants through the creation of a statewide “Clean Air Program” would discourage development of wind and solar energy because it would undermine renewable energy requirements set in place a decade ago. The bill would eliminate a surcharge allowing utilities to pass along their costs for complying with the state’s renewable portfolio standard, replacing a competitive renewable energy market with subsidies that appear aimed toward existing nuclear and coal power plants.


Dairy group cries foul over new California Cattle Council

Capital Press | Posted on April 25, 2019

The California Dairy Campaign is criticizing the manner in which the California Department of Food and Agriculture established the newly approved California Cattle Council. The council will be funded by a $1 per head assessment on the sale of live cattle over 250 pounds to provide resources for defending cattle production practices in the state.Last week, CDFA announced the council was approved by 68% of those casting a ballot in a beef and dairy producer referendum.But the Dairy Campaign contends that vote does not represent the true sentiment of beef and dairy producers, who opposed a $1 increase in the beef checkoff in a 2012 referendum.The group has opposed the formation of the council and its $1 assessment from the start and urged its members to vote against it in the referendum. It is now taking issue with the referendum.Just 19% of all beef and dairy producers in the state voted in the referendum, Lynne McBride, the Dairy Campaign’s executive director, said.


Labeling bill causing friction among Oregon winemakers

Capital Press | Posted on April 25, 2019

A bill designed to protect Oregon wine from out-of-state imposters is fermenting discord within the industry. Senate Bill 111 calls on the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to adopt new rules for enforcing wine labeling standards under state law, while also ensuring wineries pay a $25 per ton grape tax.The issue arose last year during a highly publicized feud between Willamette Valley winemakers and Copper Cane Wines & Provisions, based in Rutherford, Calif. Copper Cane buys grapes from about 40 Oregon growers to make two brands of Pinot noir — Elouan and The Willametter Journal.The Oregon Winegrowers Association, with help from state legislators, successfully argued those wines had deceptive labels that illegally referenced certain high-value growing regions known as American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs.SB 111 authorizes the OLCC to develop regulations against importing and selling deceptively labeled wine. It allows the commission to enter into agreements with agencies from other states, and would increase the fines for violations from $5,000 to $25,000.


ACLU of Iowa says state's new ag-gag law violates free speech protections

Des Moines Register | Posted on April 25, 2019

Iowa's second attempt to make it a crime for animal welfare activists, journalists and others to go undercover at meatpacking plants and livestock facilities will face a legal challenge. The ACLU of Iowa filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the state's new ag-gag law, saying it's unconstitutional, chills free speech and criminalizes a free press."The Ag Gag 2.0 law aims to silence critics of worker rights abuses, animal cruelty, unsafe food safety practices, and environmental hazards in agricultural facilities," said Rita Bettis Austen, legal director of the ACLU of Iowa.Iowa lawmakers and ag groups say the law is necessary to protect producers from groups that would use false pretense to harm farm operations.


Buffalo is launching a food waste composting program to limit waste in landfills

WKBW | Posted on April 25, 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates we throw away 30 to 40 percent of our food. That's about $161 billion worth of food that ends up in landfills every year. But now the city of Buffalo is looking to do its part to change that, by launching its very own food waste collection program.All your leftover fruits, veggies, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg and nut shells will go to the Buffalo River Compost site on Ensign Street."We grind up all the wood and mix that in a carbon-nitrogen ratio, with some fruits and vegetables and monitor all the chemical components of that and with time, turn it into a finished compost product," said Brian Murphy, owner of Buffalo River Compost.


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