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E-M:/ Factory Farms: Sierra Club Warns That Anti-Environmental Rider Would Strip Public's Right to Know about Toxic Chemical Pollution



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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne M. Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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Once again, Washington leaders are trying to leave the victims of CAFOs
out in the cold -- this will may many implications in Michigan -- Please
call Senator Stabenow and Senator Levin at 202-224-3121 (capitol
switchboard) and ask them to OPPOSE this gross weakening of already weak
protection for rural families from CAFO pollution. AW


For Immediate Release
September 20, 2004

Contacts:
Wendy Balazik, 202-675-2383
Orli Cotel, 415-977-5627


SIERRA CLUB WARNS THAT ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL RIDER WOULD STRIP PUBLIC'S
RIGHT
TO KNOW ABOUT TOXIC CHEMICAL POLLUTION AT FACTORY FARMS
Senate Appropriations Committee Expected to Act on Tuesday

On Tuesday, September 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee is likely
to
consider a rider to the VA-HUD-Independent Agencies appropriations bill
that would exempt factory farms from requirements to report their toxic
chemical releases to local, state and federal agencies.  The rider,
originating with Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, may be included in the
appropriations vehicle at the markup or offered as an amendment.

Giant livestock operations, sometimes confining hundreds of thousands of
animals, routinely emit large quantities of hazardous chemicals such as
ammonia and hydrogen sulfide as animal waste decomposes.  "Pollution and
odors from factory farms not only make life unbearable for rural
communities," said Ed Hopkins, Director of Sierra Club's Environmental
Quality Program. "Scientific studies show that it threatens people's
health."  In addition, as ammonia falls and washes into streams, it
becomes
a significant source of nitrogen pollution.

Although few factory farms have estimated their chemical releases, some
large animal feedlots release toxic chemicals into the air in quantities
comparable to large chemical manufacturing plants.  According to a US
Department of Justice consent decree, Buckeye Egg Farm in Ohio had
ammonia
emissions of over 800 tons per year.  A chemical manufacturer in Fort
Mason, Iowa, where ammonia releases ranked ninth largest in the nation
among manufacturers in 2002, reported releasing the same amount of
ammonia.

Scientific evidence has increased showing that these factory farms pose
a
threat to people's health.  According to a landmark 2002 study conducted
by
Iowa State University and the University of Iowa, "Hydrogen sulfide and
ammonia are recognized degradation products of animal manure and urine.
Both of these gases have been measured in the general vicinity of
livestock
operations at concentrations of potential health concern for rural
residents, under prolonged exposure."

Although laws requiring public right-to-know for toxic chemical releases
have existed since the 1980s, factory farms have generally not complied.
In November 2003, a court decision in Kentucky held that Tyson Foods had
failed to comply with chemical reporting laws.  That decision, which is
on
appeal, has spurred livestock industry efforts to escape from chemical
reporting requirements.

"Congress should not use must-pass agency funding bills to create a
gaping
loophole in the nation's chemical right-to-know laws," said Hopkins.

# # #

Wendy Balazik
Media Coordinator
Sierra Club
Phone:  202-675-2383
Fax:  202-547-6009




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