Target: Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and House Speaker John Boehner
Goal: Stop blocking EPA-monitoring of animal waste from industrial-scale farms.
Factory farming in the United States spends millions of dollars each year to lobby Congress. Their attempts to keep their own costs down by preventing regulation have had an extremely harmful effect on America’s drinking water and air quality, not to mention the decline of the family farm. Congresswoman Shelley Capito has recently introduced legislation that will block the Environmental Protection Agency from conducting flyovers of these factory farms, citing, of all things, privacy concerns.
These are not small farms who are worried about their personal privacy. They are essentially, to put it bluntly, animal factories. These facilities produce 500 million tons of animal waste per year, which is three times the human waste produced in the US. But unlike human waste, this material is often left untreated and stored in open lagoons which can and do leach into groundwater and public waterways, threatening aquatic life and human health. Methane, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia are released into the air from these lagoons, not only causing a nuisance to communities, but threatening air quality. For the elderly and people with respiratory problems, these are very real concerns.
In recent years, Congress has repeatedly used the EPA as a political punching-bag, rather than helping them do their job, which is to protect the public. In order to do so, they must be able to investigate possible violations. If Representative Capito’s legislation passes, not only would EPA flyovers of these large facilities be prohibited, they would even be banned from using publicly available satellite imagery to do their work. This would essentially give factory farms free reign to pollute their communities’ air and water without oversight.
Dear Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and House Speaker John Boehner,
Legislation has recently been introduced to prevent the EPA from conducting flyovers of factory farms, and even from using publicly available satellite imagery of these facilities in order to protect public health. The waste produced by these farms is often stored in open lagoons and can leach into groundwater or pollute the nation’s waterways. This waste also releases noxious gases into the atmosphere, potentially harming the health of local communities.
If these farms are to exist on such a large scale, they must conduct business in a responsible manner. How can they simply be trusted to do so without some sort of oversight? The EPA must be allowed to protect America’s communities from irresponsible behavior, and preventing them from doing so is detrimental to the health of your neighbors, family and friends.
Please reconsider this legislation and place the health of Americans over the interests of big business.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Chris Court via Flickr