Target: Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III
Goal: Significantly reduce pollution from the swine farms of North Carolina
North Carolina swine farms are responsible for a vast amount of the state’s pollution, as well as the ill health of people who live near the farms. Studies on the impact of the pollution have shown that the pollution disproportionately affects Native American, African-American and Latino communities, as they are the ones closest to the farms. Asthma rates, blood pressure and bronchitis are all increased in these communities. If the pollution affects humans in this way, one can easily imagine what the pigs’ quality of life must be. A group of lawyers, who are passionate about the environment, are attempting to change these circumstances by approaching those who can make a difference.
Earthjustice, so named the group of environmental lawyers, has approached its local Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) with a formal complaint against the swine farms’ impact. The complaint was filed as a civil rights violation, stating that the swine farms force communities of color to live and work near inadequately regulated pollution sources. Approximately 9.5 million pigs reside on North Carolina Farms. This large number of pigs produces mass amounts of waste, which is stored in pools and then sprayed over nearby fields, and, therefore, near communities.
The DENR states that it is not so familiar with civil rights; therefore, it cannot say whether or not this complaint will be dealt with in a timely manner. Stand with Earthjustice to demand that the waste produced by North Carolina’s swine farms is properly dealt with. Along with this, demand the pigs involved be better taken care of.
Dear Secretary Skvarla,
A particular group of environmental lawyers that operates under the name Earthjustice has recently approached you about environmental issues in North Carolina. In particular, the issues address pollution caused by the swine farms in the state. Air, water and soil pollution are top concerns, as well as how this pollution affects the surrounding communities of color, who are forced to live and work in these polluted environments.
I understand that this has been filed as a civil rights concern. The DENR has little experience with civil rights complaints, meaning that influencing these issues may take longer than other full environmental concerns. I am writing to side with Earthjustice and to urge the DENR to investigate the intense pollution concerns near communities of people. The pigs involved are likely not taken care of properly, which would also justify an investigation.
Please take action, and soon. The affected communities need your help and influence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: USGS via Wikimedia Commons