Save America’s Waterways

Target: White House and Illinois State Legislators

Goal: Create stricter laws and enforce existing regulations concerning the dumping of chemicals into America’s bodies of water.

The Clean Water Act was instated in 1972 in an attempt to decrease pollution in America’s waterways. The law instituted regulations concerning what products and waste could be excreted into America’s waters and under what circumstances. Though the laws were exponentially helpful and a step in the right direction for the United States, since 1972 little has been accomplished in the ways of increasing or enforcing these regulations. Pollution from factory farms such as meat processing company Cargill and their major sub-head, Tyson, are responsible for a large portion of the water degradation in Illinois.

In fact, Environment Illinois reports that apart from Cargill, “there are 2,800 poultry farms in the Illinois River watershed, which produce as much waste as would be produced by 10.7 million people.” The vast amount of pollution in the Illinois River does not, of course, only affect inhabitants of Illinois or the state’s river alone.  The Illinois River “is a major source of nutrients to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico” and excessive pollution from factory farming plants such as Cargill have resulted in algae blooms and decreased levels of oxygen in areas now known as “dead zones.”

Not only must the companies causing this pollution be held responsible, but existing laws must be updated and thoroughly enforced to ensure that future pollution does not occur on such a scale as it has in the past. A guidance has been submitted to the White House by the Environmental Protection Agency, which aims to clean up the Clean Water Act. Unfortunately, this guidance has been ignored for the past two years. Urge both the national government and the Illinois state government to crack down on factory farms and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOS) now so that both our environment and we as its citizens do not have to continue to pay the price for these companies’ actions.


Dear National and Illinois State Government,

Factory farming and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOS) are threatening the safety of our country’s waters. One factory giant, Cargill, is exceedingly dangerous in Illinois and has released as much as “3.5 million pounds of nitrates and ammonia in 2008.” Pollution in the Illinois River affects not only the environment and the people of Illinois. Because of the Illinois River’s connectivity to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, pollution in the Illinois River contributes significantly to issues in these two bodies of water as well.

Cargill and other large factory farms and CAFOs in Illinois have produced so much waste as to create “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico, harming ocean life and decreasing the safety of the waters.

Though the Clean Water Act is meant to regulate what exactly is allowed to be dumped into a body of water, the law does not do enough for our waters. Not only must the law be updated and made stricter, but these new regulations must be enforced more stringently as well. I urge you to pass the guidance that has been submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency to the White House concerning the Clean Water Act, and to also impose greater state regulations so that companies such as Cargill will be forced to act more responsibly.


[Your Name Here]

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