Day: May 16, 2006

Bill to exempt factory farms from pollution laws

pigSmell manure?

FEED – May 2006

Congress may exempt factory farms from pollution laws Large agribusiness companies are pushing their friends in Congress to exempt factory farms from the pollution reporting and cleanup provisions in key pollution laws. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as Superfund) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) provide an essential safety net for protecting water supplies from livestock pollution and for providing warnings of toxic air emissions from factory farms. Over 140 representatives are supporting a bill, H.R. 4341, that would give this sweetheart deal to factory farms. The bill may soon be attached to a “must-pass” spending bill in an effort to speed this ill-conceived measure through Congress. Please call your representative and urge him or her to oppose this dangerous legislation. To learn more, read the Sierra Club’s fact sheet (pdf) on this issue.

Factory farms tend to be located in rural areas next to communities that do not have the power to stop them/mobilize against them. This provision will further stack the deck against these communities. Anyone who thinks manure, pesticide runoff, ammonia, etc are not hazardous to the ecosystem and to human health needs to live next to one of these “farms”. I am hazarding a really wild guess that Congressman Hall (the sponsor) does not have to deal with issues such as these.

Coral Reefs do not recover from warming induced bleaching

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Warming set to ‘devastate’ coral

Bleaching in 1998 occurred in all reef regions of the world; 16% of the world’s reefs were lost in that one year, alone. But the western Indian Ocean suffered most because of an interaction between El Nino and another periodic climate phenomenon called the Indian Ocean dipole.

In the seven years since, the damaged reefs have been largely unable to reseed. Many simply collapsed into rubble and became covered in algae.

This collapse removed food and shelter from predators for a large and diverse amount of marine life. The survey showed four fish species could already be locally extinct, and six species are at critically low levels.

The survey also revealed that the diversity of fish species in the heavily impacted sites had plummeted by about 50%.

Well, this is bad news, there has been earlier indication that coral reefs were not necessarily doomed by higher ocean temperatures because this would just cause a shift in the coral species to varieties thriving at higher temperatures/exhibiting adaptive behaviors. Obviously, this did not happen fast enough to regenerate the reef.