A proposed program to reduce emissions from more than 70 dairies and 120,000 cows in Washington's Yakima County likely will become permanent March 1, but opponents criticize it as lacking a scientific basis and of neglecting public health.

Gary Pruitt, the Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency's director, said Jan. 12  he will recommend adoption of the air quality plan for dairies next month, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic.

The plan aims to reduce chemical compounds, dust and odors from dairy operations, requiring them to submit air quality management plans and adopt practices for manure handling and storage, feeding and feed management, bedding materials, aeration of lagoons, cover crops and windbreaks, the report said.

A citizens group centered on the Yakama Indian Reservation opposes the plan, citing the number of young people living around dairies who are more susceptible to respiratory problems and saying it lacked established baselines to a gauge effectiveness, according to the report.