SB85-1 & 3 Moratorium on large Confined Animal Feedlot Operations

Comments Supporting Amendment -1 and Opposing -3 below

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
March 3rd 2023



Reference SB85-1

Chair Golden and members of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources:

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN), an organization of over 2,000 rural Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and urge statewide action to address it. The mission of SOCAN is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate chaos consequences and stimulate individual and collective action to address it. Since rural Oregonians occupy the frontlines in experiencing the impact of the drought, shrinking snowpack, wildfires and extreme weather that the climate crisis imposes, we are strongly committed to statewide action.

I write today to express support for SB85 Amendment 1, the Moratorium on Confined (or Concentrated) Animal Feedlot (Feeding) Operations (CAFOs).

Rather than detailing the full array of reasons that CAFOs are offensive, I will focus on the environmental and climate negatives. CAFOs are cruel and inhumane methods of producing food that deny the sentience or feelings of the confined animals and treat them as non-sentient unfeeling objects. The CAFO business model assigns to the animals in their charge but a single purpose – to generate profits for CAFO owners and stockholders. No doubt this concern will be addressed by others.

Over a decade ago Hribar (2010), writing for the National Association of Boards of Health,  pointed out that most meat and dairy products were no longer being grown in small family farms but had shifted to large farms with single species buildings or open pens. Hribar (2010) acknowledged that “properly managed, located, and monitored, CAFOs can provide a low-cost source of meat, milk, and eggs, due to efficient feeding and housing of animals, increased facility size, and animal specialization” and that they can enhance the local economy. However, her main concern, even a decade ago, was the negative effects of the operations on environmental and human health; she also expressed the concern that Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) pose a potential environmental hazard noting that this was recognized as long ago as the 1972 Clean Water Act.

In terms of the Groundwater hazard, Hribar (2010) stated: “Groundwater can be contaminated by CAFOs through runoff from land application of manure, leaching from manure that has been improperly spread on land, or through leaks or breaks in storage or containment units.”

The surface waters of the state and nation are threatened by manure escaping from treatment lagoons, particularly problematic during heavy rainfall (events which are expected to increase in frequency with climate change) and consequent floods (Hribar 2010). Contaminants include nitrogen, nitrates, phosphates and ammonia.  The first three of these serve as nutrients promoting algal blooms which initially starve water bodies of light, and then die only to decay and starve the water bodies of oxygen as anaerobic decomposition occurs. This suffocates aquatic animals whether invertebrate, insect larva, or fish.

Within and near the CAFO, air quality is compromised by emissions of gaseous and particulate items that pose health hazards to workers and neighboring communities (Hribar 2010). Notable among these are ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and methane. Anyone living near or driving by a CAFO and inhaling is well aware of these consequences.  Table 1 (from Hribar 2010) summarizes the air quality problems.

The environmental impacts of CAFOs in the area of groundwater and surface water contamination are responsible for the ubiquitous fish kills (e.g., Nicole 2013, Ellison 2018, Merchant and Osterberg 2020, Redman 2020) that are associated with CAFO mismanagement. These present serious inconvenience to neighboring communities.

In the discussion from over a decade ago, Hribar (2010) continues by delineating the human problems caused by CAFOs, discussing odors largely a result of the ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and miscellaneous volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds; insect vectors notably house flies stable flies and mosquitoes; pathogens such as parasites, bacteria, and viruses (see Table 2); pathogens (see Table 2); anti-biotics employed to promote growth and resist disease, especially critical as more and ever more animals are confined together; and finally, property values.

The concerns expressed by Hribar (2010) have not been resolved. In a literature review, Brewer (2020) focused on antimicrobial resistance problems appearing in humans that result from CAFOs and the problem of manure contamination causing eutrophication (nutrient enrichment) of waterways. Dip (2021) reported: “that communities—and children in particular—living near CAFOs have higher rates of Asthma….”, and “In 2020, factory farms spent over $140 MILLION lobbying our elected officials against effective climate change legislation to ensure they can continue to use CAFOs….”No doubt these lobbyists will be out in force in connection with SB85-1.

The Climate Crisis

It is well known, I suspect, that the sequence of events leading to our climate crisis is as summarized below:

(1) the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases released as a result of human activity leads to à

(2) the capture of outwardly radiating heat from the Earth’s surface derived from incoming solar radiation (mainly in the short wavelength visible light range) being turned int longer wavelength heat radiation when arriving at and contacting the Earth’s surface.  This then results in à,

(3) greater heat energy in our atmosphere leading locally to reducing snowpack, greater evaporation and droughts inducing drying soils and vegetation and, in turn, greater wildfire risk plus more severe weather – especially storms, hurricanes, etc.

Projections of temperature trends resulting from the ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases suggest we plausibly will see a warming globally of between 3 and 5.1⁰C (5.4 and 9.1⁰F) relative to pre-industrial revolution conditions by the end of this century (IPCC 2021), an outcome that would devastate our natural ecosystems, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. This would be unmanageable and must be avoided!

This sequence clearly identifies the primary cause as the climate pollution resulting from human activities, particularly the release of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other heat-trapping gases into our atmosphere.  As depicted in Figure 1, the dominant gas is carbon dioxide. However, as presented in that Figure, where the Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI) (NOAA 2022) is shown, other gases are also important.  With carbon dioxide established as the basis for comparison with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) (or carbon dioxide equivalent CO2e) of 1, other gases are reported relative to this.  The most recent IPCC Assessment Report 6 (IPCC 2021) reports the value for nitrous oxide (N2O) as 273, and that for methane (CH4) – because it is relatively short-lived in the atmosphere – as about 80 on a 20-year basis and between 27 and 29 on a 100-year basis.  The AGGI depicts the warming of the planet, measured in terms of the Radiative Forcing of the constituent gases in terms of Watts pe meter squared at the Earth’s surface. The AGGI was set at unity (i.e.,1) in 1990 with the deviation from that before and after 1990 showing a clear and consistent increase.  By 2021, the AGGI had reached 1.49.  This means that the AGGI has increased nearly 50% in a little over two decades. Potentially equally disturbing is the realization that gases other than carbon dioxide are contributing substantially to the problem.  All other gases combined are responsible for about 33% of overall global warming while the leader among these other gases is methane, contributing about 8% to global warming. The message should be clear, but in case not: this means that in addition to reducing the carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentration, we must address the other gases, especially methane.

An estimate of the contribution of livestock to the global climate crisis via emissions of gases from enteric fermentation was reported as 14.5% a decade ago (Gerber et al. 2013). Incidentally, an entirely parallel anaerobic bacterial breakdown process occurs in the gut of cattle to that driving decay in anaerobic CAFO manure lagoons. The product in both cases is methane. Since the overall contribution of methane to the atmosphere is much less than the reported value of 14.5% (see Figure 1 and discussion) this number seems high. Globally, methane comes from a diversity of sources, including, for example, natural wetlands, rice paddies, fossil fuel (especially fossil [natural] gas) extraction, processing and transmission, and permafrost thawing. Thus, either the earlier 14.5% estimate was high, or sources of other greenhouse gases have increased substantially thereby reducing the percentage role of methane from enteric fermentation. In the U.S., Massey and Keintzy (2021) reported that enteric fermentation in cattle is responsible for 179 million of the U.S. total of 6,577 Million Metric Tons of total emissions, all measured in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is slightly over 2.7% of U.S. emissions. If this value is accurate, and the U.S. contribution of methane to the problem follows the global trend (i.e., about 8%), then enteric fermentation is responsible for over 25% of our national methane emissions.  The IPCC (2019), reporting on emissions from land use, concluded “Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) activities accounted for around 13% of CO2, 44% of methane (CH4), and 81% of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions cumulatively during 2007-2016. This represents 23% (12.0 ± 2.9 GtCO2eq yr-1) of total net anthropogenic emissions of GHGs.” Hersher and Aubrey (2019) note that currently 50% of vegetated land globally is dedicated to agriculture, while 30% of the cropland grows grain just to feed animals. Our hunger for meat products makes meat production a leading cause of deforestation – a process that both emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases itself and thwarts the capacity of removed trees to sequester further carbon from the atmosphere. The indication is that we should examine agricultural activities that result in methane emissions and respond accordingly by reducing them.

Ritchie (2021) reported that “agricultural products as a whole contribute 33% to global [greenhouse gas] emissions” again implying we need to address them. Meanwhile, in a study of trajectories for achieving Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warming targets, Clark et al. (2020) concluded: “Even if fossil fuel emissions were rapidly reduced, emissions from the global food system are on a trajectory that would prevent achievement of the 1.5° and 2°C targets before the end of the century.”

CAFOs inevitably contribute substantially to the problem since the sheer number of animals is immense.  However, purely from a climate perspective, it has been suggested that grass-fed cattle, taking longer than CAFO cattle to grow, actually emit more methane per unit of product.  Lupo et al. (2013), for example, assessed that grassfed cattle produced 37% more emissions than feedlot cattle, though they noted that 15 – 24% reductions occur when soil organic carbon gain from grassfed versus CAFO cattle was accounted.  Countering the conclusion that grassfed cattle are more greenhouse gas intensive that CAFO cattle, Hayek and Miller (2021), assessing emissions using a top-down rather than bottom-up approach, concluded that the methane emissions from confined feeding operations may be 39% – 90% higher than previously reported. This would negate the CAFO benefit reported by Lupo et al. (2013). Hayek and Miller (2021) also suggest “We find that region-wide emissions from meat and milk production could reach 1.52 (1.41–1.62) GtCO2eq by 2050, an amount 21% (13%–29%) higher than previously predicted. Therefore, intensification may not be as effective in mitigating emissions in developing countries as is commonly assumed.” The purported climate benefit of CAFOs is clearly questionable.

Meanwhile among complete Life Cycle Analyses (LCA), support for the grassfed approach has been reported. For example, Stanley et al. (2018) concluded that, in grassfed operations: “Emissions from the grazing system were offset completely by soil C sequestration.” They added: “Soil C sequestration from well-managed grazing may help to mitigate climate change.”  A full life cycle study conducted on a grassfed regenerative grazing operation at the behest of General Mills at White Oaks Pastures in Georgia, concluded that the system: “effectively captures soil carbon, offsetting a majority of the emissions related to beef production.”  They even also suggested that the system: “may have a net positive effect on climate.”

Whether the greenhouse gas emissions from CAFOs are a little more per pound of beef or a little less, the associated environmental and health negatives of CAFO production discussed above should be enough to tip the balance against them. The comment offered by Matsumoto (2019) seems entirely appropriate here: “the world [needs] to cut back on its meat consumption…” This suggestion was also evident in the Brewer (2020) review where the author “stressed the importance for a reduction in meat consumption, as this is ultimately the driver of intensified livestock production systems.”

As a closing comment, I refer to the ‘right to farm’ laws and principles which, no doubt, will be promoted by those defending CAFOs. According to NALC (2022): “All fifty states have enacted right-to-farm laws that seek to protect qualifying farmers and ranchers from nuisance lawsuits filed by individuals who move into a rural area where normal farming operations exist, and who later use nuisance actions to attempt to stop those ongoing operations.” Note that the principle is not to defend an operation such as a CAFO that itself constitutes a threat to the lives, livelihoods, and health of neighbors and small family farms.

For these reasons, SOCAN urges a moratorium on further certification of Confined (Concentrated) Animal Feedlot (Feeding) Operations and supports SB85-1. It is not necessary to study this issue; sufficient information is available to allow a rational response.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet


Sources Cited

Brewer C 2020 Environmental Impacts of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: Current and Future Implications for Global Health and Sustainability. Master of Public Health Thesis, California State University San Marcos

Clark M, Domingo N, Colgan K, Thakrar S, Tilman D, Lynch J, Azevedo I, Hill J. 2020 Global food system emissions could preclude achieving the 1.5° and 2°C climate change targets. Science 370 (6517) 705-708.

Dip A 2021 Why Are CAFOs Bad for the Environment? Action for the Climate Emergency.

Ellison G 2018 Kent County dairy CAFO pipeline spills manure into river. M Live Michigan.

Gerber P, Steinfeld H, Henderson B, Mottet A, Opio C, Dijkman J, Falcucci, A Tempio,G. 2013. Tackling climate change through livestock – A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Rome

Hayek M, Miller S 2021. Underestimates of methane from intensively raised animals could undermine goals of sustainable development. Environmental Research Letters. 16 (6) 063006.

Hersher R, Aubrey A. 2019 To Slow Global Warming, U.N. Warns Agriculture Must Change. The Salt: What’s on your plate; National Public Radio.

Hribar C. 2010 Understanding Concentrated environmental health Animal Feeding Operations and  Their Impact on Communities. National Association of Local Boards of Health

IPCC, 2019: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems  Shukla P, Skea J, Calvo Buendia E, Masson-Delmotte V, Pörtner H, Roberts D, Zhai P, Slade R, Connors S, van Diemen R, Ferrat M, Haughey E, Luz S, Neogi S, Pathak M, Petzold J, Portugal Pereira J, Vyas P, Kissick E, Belkacemi M, Malley J, (eds.)

IPCC 2021 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Lupo C, Clay D, Benning J, Stone J 2013 Life-cycle assessment of the beef cattle production system for the northern great plains, USA. Journal of Environmental Quality. 2013 Sep;42(5):1386-94.

Massey R and Keintyzy D 2021 (update of 2008 original) Agriculture and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. University of Missouri Extension.

Matsumoto N 2019 Is Grass-Fed Beef Really Better For The Planet? Here’s The Science. Tha Salt: What’s on your Plate National Public Radio.

Merchant J, Osterberg D. 2020 Iowans want action to limit concentrated animal feeding operations and their harmful effects. Des Moines Register.  Environ Health Perspect. 121 (6) 182–189.

NALC 2022 States’ Right-To-Farm Statutes. National Agricultural Law Center.

Nicole W 2013 CAFOs and Environmental Justice: The Case of North Carolina.

NOAA 2022 Annual Greenhouse Gas Index. U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Redman H 2020 St. Croix Co. Dairy with manure spill history reaches $65k settlement for 2019 fish kill. Wisconsin Examiner.

Ritchie H 2021 How much of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food? Our World in Data.,contributes%2033%25%20to%20global%20emissions.

Stanley P, Rowntree J, Beede D, DeLonge M, Hamm M 2018 Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems. ScienceDirect 162, May 2018, 249-258

Thorbecke M,  Dettling J 2019 Carbon Footprint Evaluation of Regenerative Grazing at White Oak Pastures. Quantis


Amendment 3 Opposition Testimony


Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
March 21st 2023


Reference SB85-3

Chair Golden and members of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN), an organization of over 2,000 rural Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and urge statewide action to address it. The mission of SOCAN is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate chaos consequences and stimulate individual and collective action to address it. Since rural Oregonians occupy the frontlines in experiencing the impact of the drought, shrinking snowpack, wildfires and extreme weather that the climate crisis imposes, we are strongly committed to statewide action.

I have previously submitted testimony on SB85-1, and will not repeat that here. However, in relation to the -3 amendment, I would like to reiterate the point that, in terms of furthering the climate crisis, CAFOs are a disaster. This is because of the greenhouse gas emissions that they inevitably release.

While greenhouse gas emissions result from the entire CAFO operation, my focus here is on the emissions that are produced from the husbandry of different animals and the production of different foods. A good comparison is presented in Figure 1 (Ritchie 2020) which assesses emission per kilogram of food produced. The critical data to compare are the beef (and dairy) cattle, lamb and goats, pork and chicken. It is very evident that among these domestic farm animals, poultry are the least problematic in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of food produced, whether considering meat or eggs. Pork scores in the same vicinity. Meanwhile, dairy cattle, and lamb and goats score slightly higher. Finally, beef cattle clearly hit the climate pollution ball out of the park.

Another recent perspective is offered by UN (undated) citing the 2022 IPCC graphing Kilograms of emissions (again in carbon dioxide equivalent terms) per kilogram of food produced and reporting a similar patterns (Figure 2). Here, we find again that cattle (with a value similar to the Ritchie 2020 cattle average) similarly feature as the most climatically damaging of listed foods. Lamb clocks in at a little over half the cattle value, while cheese and pork follow and poultry score as the least damaging, with eggs lower than the meat and finally milk, according to this analysis and somewhat surprisingly, rating even lower than eggs.

The difference in details between these two studies is less significant than the overall pattern that identifies in both sources that cattle are the greatest emitters of greenhouse gases. Figure 1 indicates exactly why this is the case: the problem is the methane emitted as a result of the enteric fermentation of anaerobic bacteria in the gut of cattle which is largely belched out by the animals.

Considering other environmental issues generated by large CAFOs, McGarry (2020) concluded that: “the Clean Water Act is limited in two aspects that allow for CAFOs to escape permitting and regulation under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System: (1) the CWA does not allow EPA to regulate potential discharges, and (2) the Trump Administration’s limiting definition of waters of the United States under the CWA. The CWA is limited in that it can only regulate actual discharges into waters of the United States.”

Despite the claims of those owning or managing CAFOs or representing them organizationally, the evidence indicates that CAFOs are not excessively burdened with regulations CAFO

Before concluding, I note that Amendment -1 seems to be posted twice and no -2 is evident. While applying the moratorium just to Tier 2 poultry operations may offer some value in some arenas, the elimination of beef and dairy cattle from the provisions of this moratorium massively undermines the purpose of the proposal.

For these reasons, SOCAN records opposition to the -3 amendment to SB85 and reiterates support for the -1 amendment (s) as posted on March 21st 2023. However, should -3 be approved, we support that as a first step to addressing the CAFO problem in Oregon.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet


McGarry D 2020 Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy Law Blog: Nobody is Watching How the Sausage is Made: The Failure to Regulate CAFOs .

Ritchie H. 2020 The carbon footprint of foods: are differences explained by the impacts of methane? Our World in Data.

UN undated Food and Climate Change: Healthy diets for a healthier planet. United Nations, Climate Action


Submitter: Christine Haynie

On Behalf Of: Self

Committee: Senate Committee On Natural Resources

Measure: SB85

Scientists have long known that cattle are a significant producer of the greenhouse gas methane. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the reduction goals in methane we must reduce the number of cattle and other methane producing species and put a stop to feedlot expansions here in Oregon. SB85 is a good start toward that goal. Let us make it incumbent upon the Oregon Legislature to pass this bill so we can, as a people, begin to recognize and eliminate root causes of climate change. The fact is, that we can see the consequences of climate change all around us, in almost every state and country on this planet. We can’t wait to begin fixing this at some date in the future. We need to act fast and now is the time. Other reasons to reduce/eliminate the presence of feedlots are: 1) beef production on the scale that is happening in Oregon and elsewhere is not sustainable; Raising cattle requires a great amount of resources: water, land, and food; that will be in diminishing supply as the planet continues to warm.. 2) it is inhumane and causes great suffering to animals who live in these confined spaces. I implore the Oregon Legislature to pass SB85 during the 2023 session and become a model for other states to support similar measures. Thank you

Regarding SB85-1

I support SB85-1. The full 5 year moratorium allows adequate time to study all components of the bill. I am especially concerned that removing all animals except chickens may be up for discussion. This bill is really about large animals. We all know that cattle emit significant amounts of methane, a very potent green house gas. The bill with all its goals and focus on root causes that make climate change worse would be worthless if large animals were excluded. Many critics of the bill use a broad brush to to assert that family farms would go out of business without CAFO’s, when in fact this bill pertains to large operations. The recent UN report on climate change should be a wake up call to everyone in Oregon. Lets support the notion that Oregon can be a model on how other states address this looming crisis, no longer looming, but at our doorsteps. By addressing the risks of maintaining and increasing CAFO’s–unsustainable agricultural practices, social justice issues, environmental degradation, animal welfare concerns and increasing the amounts of green house gases released in the air–we will be taking a big step toward avoiding the worst scenarios that climate chaos will bring.



Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now





Consolidated Oregon Indivisible Network
May 2nd 2023



Reference SB #85

Chair Lieber and members of the Senate Committee on Rules:

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN), an organization of over 2,000 rural Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and urge statewide action to address it. The mission of SOCAN is to promote awareness and understanding of the science of global warming and its climate chaos consequences and stimulate individual and collective action to address it. Since rural Oregonians occupy the frontlines in experiencing the impact of the drought, shrinking snowpack, wildfires and extreme weather that the climate crisis imposes, we are strongly committed to statewide action.

I have previously submitted testimony in support of SB85-1 on behalf of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now. I write today also on behalf of the Consolidated Oregon Indivisible Network.  In both capacities, I write to reiterate support for SB85-1. The evidence that large CAFOs are imposing huge environmental threats to rural Oregon and our statewide efforts to counter the state’s contributions to the global climate crisis is incontestable. Those who defend these huge factory farms are placing short-term profits above the long-term survival of life on the planet as we know it.

On behalf of SOCAN and COIN I urge the Senate Committee on Rules to accept and recommend 85-1 and resist efforts orchestrated by the huge mega CAFO’s and their apologists to weaken the -1 amendment.   If we are serious about addressing the climate crisis and protecting rural Oregon from the threats imposed by these facilities, we must impose a moratorium on expansion to and of mega CAFO’s as we undertake and open and transparent study of their environmental impacts and develop remedies for the harm they are imposing on our state, nation and planet.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet Ph.D.

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