Stop Killing Bees, Birds, & the Environment with Toxic Seeds

Target: Amelia Breinig, Administrator at the Nebraska Department of Agriculture

Goal: Prevent ethanol company from using contaminated and environmentally dangerous seeds.

Ethanol is marketed to the public as environmentally friendly, but in at least one Nebraska village it has become a threatening menace. The tiny town of Mead’s residents have experienced throat and eye irritation. Some of the wildlife have exhibited even more dangerous symptoms, including disorientation and—in the cases of entire colonies of bees—death. A nearby ethanol plant is believed to be responsible for these troubling effects.

The company, AltEn, converts corn and other starchy grains into ethanol fuel. While this process can prove beneficial in comparison to other polluting fuel methods, AltEn’s production brings more risk because of the insecticides and fungicides coating its used seeds. Agricultural businesses have essentially dumped their contaminated seeds at the plant, which gladly takes them to secure free product with little regard for the thousands of pounds of waste piling up on its grounds. Tests on this waste have revealed skyrocketing rates of contaminants that have likely poisoned regional water, grounds, and living beings.

To date, this flooding of pesticides into the town has gone almost completely unregulated, with a mere citation as the only form of “punishment.” Sign the petition below to demand accountability and action on this imminent environmental and public health threat.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Breinig,

Pesticides measured up to 500 times the amount allowed by the EPA, dying birds, dead bee colonies, potentially contaminated well water that sustains a village: these are just a few of the complaints brought to you by advocates and residents in Mead. For years, they have pointed this department directly to the likely source of these ills. And for most of this time, you have simply met these worries with a shrug and a “nothing to be done.”

At last, the Department of Agriculture took a small step in the right direction by prohibiting the ethanol plant AltEn from spreading pesticide-laced seed waste over farm fields. Now, however, the company has taken to burning their waste products or simply accumulating them in mountain-high piles. Both “solutions” carry serious health threats for the surrounding environment and the people and animals populating Mead. The contaminants released by these wastes can filter into waterways and become absorbed by plants. They may be fueling an insect apocalypse, and defects in deer have even been traced to these wastes.

Citations and hopes for compliance that may never come will no longer work. You must ban this company from using dangerous pesticide-coated seeds entirely. Set a standard that puts the well-being of Mead and other small, vulnerable communities first.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Judy Wu Smart




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2 Comments

  1. It maybe isn’t as dirty a fuel as gas or oil, but it apparently still creates environmental problems. Companies need to end these dirty fuels and put money into clean sources of energy such as solar. I realize that there will still be some repercussions in manufacturing panels, but it is probably the lesser evil compared to fossil fuels and ethanol.

  2. Evan Jane Kriss says:

    This is an environmental DISASTER. Clean it up and STOP THIS PRACTICE IMMEDIATELY. It is ENDANGERING ALL LIVING BEINGS.

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