From Ecoworld News
Report Finds Factory Farm Pollution Is Killing Millions
Manure spills and dumping in 10 states killed 13
million fish from 1995 through 1998
WASHINGTON (September 20, 2000) - Manure spills and
intentional manure dumping at factory farms in 10 states killed 13 million
fish in the late 1990s, according to a new report by a coalition of
environmental groups. The report, produced by NRDC (Natural Resources
Defense Council), the Clean Water Network and the Izaak Walton League,
documents more than 1,000 manure spills and 200 fish kills from 1995 through
1998. The report surveyed data from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota,
Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Washington and Wisconsin.
"Lagoon overflows and over-application of manure at
factory farms are polluting our lakes and rivers, killing our fish and
wildlife, and threatening public health," says Nancy Stoner, director of
NRDC's Clean Water Project. "The scope and severity of these pollution
problems underscore the need for stronger federal and state regulation."
The Environmental Protection Agency is developing new
federal standards for controlling pollution from factory farms (also called
feedlots) under a consent decree with NRDC, which wants tighter regulations.
"We urge the EPA to close the loopholes that allow factory farms to turn our
rivers and lakes into manure sewers," says report co-author Merritt Frey of
the Clean Water Network. "It's time to bring this industry into the 21st
century and protect Americans from feedlot pollution."
The new report, titled "Spills and Kills," is the most
complete analysis to date of feedlot water pollution problems. It documents
improper land application of manure, spills and leaks from immense manure
lagoons, equipment failures, and intentional manure dumping.
These incidents, which deplete the oxygen in waterways,
have led to massive fish kills in the 10 states surveyed by the report. For
example, from 1995 to 1998, 250 manure spills in the five Midwest states
bordering the upper Mississippi River killed more than 3.3 million fish.
Midwest manure spills and factory farm runoff also contribute significantly
to the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico.
"We collected and analyzed all the reliable information
we could find," explains Frey, "but given there is no national tracking
system for manure spills or fish kills, our data represents only a fraction
of the actual number. We need a national tracking system to notify the
public about pollution threats and to hold polluters accountable."
Natural Resources Defense Council
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