Factory Farms are NOT above the Law! – Take Action Now!
By Caroline Vernon
As many of you know, Scott county in Iowa and Rock Island county in Illinois are both within the top ten of the most polluted counties in the entire nation! In Rock Island county, as an example, the worst polluter was IDP, a slaughterhouse (according to the most recent reporting of emissions data; EPA 2003 – http://www.scorecard.org).
To think that our city and state leaders want to put ANOTHER slaughterhouse in Rock Island county is alarming! How can anyone ignore the current state of our environment? Why is it OK that we are so polluted? At the very least, we owe our children a clean and healthy environment. At this point, we are failing them miserably!
Instead, we see our hospital systems growing exponentially along with our rate of diseases. Are we just to accept that we are to become a community of “managed illnesses?” Why are we not focusing on what is causing the steady increase in cancer rates, growing incidents of auto-immune disorders and record cases of asthma in our children? Personally, I can't even imagine what it is like to be unable to breathe – we cannot continue to allow this to happen to our children!
Granted, there are many factors that contribute to what ails us but we are all creatures of our environment and cannot escape the inherent cause and effect associated with our relationship to the earth. As occums razor states, all things considered equal, the simplest explanation tends to be correct. I know a simple truth: “You only get out of it what you put into it” — If we are dumping our waste (of all kinds, including industry emissions) and spewing it out into the countryside (land, air and water), what do we really expect to get out of that? If we truly reap what we sow, what do we really expect to reap from this?
It's a terrible thing what we are doing to oursleves in the name of the almighty dollar– in the name of “jobs” for our communities. There are some who say, hey, we should be lucky these companies come to our town to offer us jobs. I say, how ridiculous it is that we have to sell out our physical, mental, and emotional well-being (not to mention our soul) on behalf of our financial livelihood – or so we say… the irony is, workers and others, particularly our children, will continue to get sick and pretty soon won't even be able to work which will result in no livelihood at all! So much for reaping the fruits of our labor!
I am asking all of you to continue to raise this dialogue. Write letters to the editors, contact our elected leaders (county, city, state) and ask them, “why is it OK to continue doing “business as usual” regardless of the harm it causes our environment and ourselves?” If enough pressure is brought to bear, we can simply decide to do things differently– indeed, far better. We are truly capable of inventing our way out of this mess if we have the collective will to do so! Where there is a will, there is a way. It's our choice. In the mean time, I call on our elected leaders to reconsider how we are now choosing to invest, in order to establish a sorely needed balance between good stewardship of our environment and good economic development for our communities. Our children's future depends on it!
From Food & Water Watch
Fields of manure that burn for months. Contaminated drinking wells and rivers. Manure “lagoons” that overflow and kill millions of fish .
These are just some of the problems caused by the huge amounts of manure found on factory farms. Environmental and health problems are the inevitable results at these operations, which create enormous amounts of waste that cannot be absorbed by available land. And yet, some members of Congress are trying to pass a terrible bill that would exempt factory farms from prosecution under the Superfund law (CERCLA). Superfund is designed to protect the public from hazardous waste, and to hold companies accountable for pollution violations.
Act now to write to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is considering exempting manure from Superfund in a bill called HR 4341, and tell them to vote no on sweetheart deal for polluting factory farms.