'Cow fart' regulations have been approved by California lawmakers, who added new restrictions on the amount of methane emissions in the atmosphere to the state's climate change agenda.

The legislation intends to regulate the amount of methane produced from dairy farms and manure that goes into the atmosphere, as part of an ambitious attempt to cut pollution.

State Democrats also approved $900m to be spent on environmental programmes, and extended the existing climate change law by a decade – despite protests from the oil industry.

"With this bill we prove again that California doesn't shy away from tackling major climate change legislation. We lead," Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara, who wrote the bill, told Phys.org.

Dairy farmers in the state were given a compromise by way of an extension on the amount of time they have to comply with the new methane regulations, amid fears that the new standards imposed by the legislature would push up the price of milk from Californian cows.

The compromise, which included $50m of funding for dairy farm methane reduction and $40m for landfills, closed an ongoing debate about the extent to which methane from cattle should be regulated – which it will, should it be scientifically proved it is possible to do so.

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) intends to cut methane emissions by 40% over the next 14 years, but has come up against dairy farmers in the state who have accused the organisation of unnecessary meddling in agriculture.