Originally created 02/11/99

Says 'pork industry' hurts environment 021199 - The Augusta Chronicle



The Georgia Environmental Protection Division was reprimanded recently for failing to propose reasonable regulations to assure that Georgia waters would not be contaminated by wastes from what can only be described as hog factories, facilities which house 20,000 adult hogs.

The Board of Directors of the Department of Natural Resources imposed an indefinite moratorium on the permitting of these confined animal feeding operations until the EPD addresses the problem adequately. These problems include leakage of waste from waste storage lagoons into the ground water, spillage from the fields into streams or rivers causing fish kills or bacterial outbreaks, drainage from spray fields into streams or seepage into ground water by over spraying the fields, killing the flora on spray fields by over-spraying thus causing erosion and silting, etc. ...

If it weren't for the DNR imposed-moratorium, we would soon have had one of these hog factories in Elbert County, upstream from Augusta.

But the potential environmental problems inherent in these operations are not the only threats to Georgia. The corporations that promote these confined animal feeding operations have produced so many hogs that the price for hogs has dropped to 25 percent of what it was only two years ago. The small farmer is not able to absorb that kind of loss and he is forced out of business, eliminating some of the competition for the corporation ...

In another move that shows the political clout of the corporations and gives a new meaning to the term "pork industry," the corporations asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bail them out of (a) mess. ... They had produced so much pork they couldn't sell it. So the USDA bought 50,000 metric tons to send to Russia as food aid and they expect to guarantee exports on the same scale to South Korea.

Is it in the best interest of the citizens of Georgia to put their environment at risk to drive Georgia farmers out of business or to send cheap pork to Russia and Korea? It seems that the EPD ought to take its job of environmental protection more seriously.

Jan Parsons, Augusta