Well, the nanny state is at it again; this time they are sniffing around your garbage can.

Lompoc, like all other cities and counties in California, is in the process of creating a response to Senate Bill (SB) 1383, the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Act of 2016. Apparently, Sacramento thinks our trash is what causes the weather to change.

The language of the bill states: “Short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon, fluorinated gases, and methane, are powerful climate forcers that have a dramatic and detrimental effect on air quality, public health, and climate change.”

Sacramento politicians are selling the concept that organic waste such as paper and paper products create global warming and is an airborne pollutant.

On March 1 the Lompoc City Council was told by the staff that “there will be significant cost impacts to the City associated with the implementation and enforcement of this mandatory regulation.”

That’s because the new rules will require an extensive new compliance program (more city employees) to monitor your garbage can and prepare reports to prove the program is meeting its weather-changing goals via waste reduction. But who will pay?

The State Senate put it this way in the bill: “No reimbursement (by the state) is required by this act because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act.”

In other words, you and I will pay for their heavy-handed mandate and local elected officials who had nothing to do with creating this program will be held accountable for it.

Some parts of the senate bill make sense, not because it will do anything about the weather, but because it is the humanitarian thing to do.

Today’s generation wastes a lot of otherwise edible food. If produce has a spot or blemish on it, your local market doesn’t sell it because customers demand pristine products even though they are going to chop it up, cook it and eat it when they get home.

According to the staff report, the new rule will require that “disposed edible (unexpired) food be recovered and distributed to food recovery organizations such as food banks or food donation centers recovering the maximum amount of edible food that would otherwise be disposed of for human consumption.”

Many markets have been doing this for decades, but I guess they’ll need to do more.

In addition to edible waste, “The City must procure certain levels of recovered organic waste such as recycled content paper and paper products, mulch, compost, renewable gas used for transportation fuels, electricity, heating applications, or electricity from biomass conversion produced from organic waste regardless of cost.”

How would they do that? You’ll recall that the county has a very expensive biomass digestion system at the Tajiguas landfill; well, the same company that operates this facility purchased some property in Lompoc near the airport across the street from major retail/food businesses.

Could it be there is a methane production facility in Lompoc’s future?

Methane in high concentrations is both toxic to humans, explosive and very flammable. Would it be reasonable to place a hazardous material production facility across the street from a major retail center?

Besides the obvious hazard of methane gas, how about the storage of large quantities of all that recycled paper and paper products, mulch, and compost feed stock?

When methane burns it combines with other gases to form carbon dioxide; I thought the purpose of this program was to reduce these sorts of pollutants in the atmosphere.

Another requirement is that the city must “monitor the containers for contamination”? This requires a physical inspection by a qualified employee, but what happens if contamination is detected?

Any contamination could be considered as hazardous waste — will the city clean the container and dispose of the waste residue? If it’s left up to homeowners to clean the containers, they are likely just to wash it down the drain or into the street.

Once again, politicians in Sacramento have created another costly mandate in their quest to change the weather. All this must be done by 2025, just three years from now. When you go to vote in November, consider what the current political party that dominates Sacramento is doing to your pocketbook.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry. He has been following Lompoc politics since 1992, and after serving for 23 years appointed to various Lompoc commissions, retired from public service. The opinions expressed are his own.