Letters to the Editor 4/26/18
TOXIC CAFO EMISSIONS
Both the U.S. House and Senate are responsible for a dangerous provision that was inserted into the omnibus appropriations spending bill signed by President Trump.
On page 2,203 of this enormous bill is a favor granted to factory farming industry advocates who have been urging legislation in both the House and Senate that would exempt the largest livestock producers from reporting the pollution they create.
Previously in the Senate the legislation was titled a catchy name, the FARM (Fair Agriculture Reporting Method) Act. The phrase itself would bring to mind farmers, fairness, agriculture and everything green. But, in reality, this legislation represents a cloak that exempts industrial factory farms from a vital superfund law (CERCLA).
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act requires federal agencies to be notified when the public is being exposed to dangerous levels of toxic air contaminants.
Hydrogen sulfide and ammonia are just two of the hundreds of gases generated by factory farms. Because of their toxicity they are highlighted in our Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Hydrogen sulfide gas often travels offsite along the ground in plumes. It is considered a potent neurotoxin, and even chronic exposure to low ambient levels can cause irreversible damage to the brain and central nervous system. Children are the most susceptible to this poisonous gas, according to the Journal of Environmental Science and Health.
Ammonia gas adsorbs onto suspended CAFO particulates and can be inhaled deep into lungs. It irritates tissue even at low ambient concentrations and inhibits the lungs ability in clearing dust particles. It can cause severe cough, lung inflammation and scarring.
Unknown to much of the public, the largest factory farms will now “go undercover” and be exempt from reporting their and hydrogen sulfide and ammonia emissions. All industries must report release of toxic substances to federal authorities but factory farms want to hide under the skirts of traditional agriculture with privileged exemptions that pose a clear hazard to vulnerable communities.
Public health is suffering at the hands of political favors made to factory farming interests.
Regional Associate, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project
Co-Founder, Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water
POEMS FOR PUZZLES
I do not mean to cause much of a fuss
But it does not appear you’re looking out for us
If you work on puzzles it helps to write
I’m not sure why we have to fight this fight
Please let puzzles stay in print for now
Just make foreclosures smaller, holy cow!
I do not know why you would even consider puzzles out of print
It does not make sense, even for a short stint
Why would you think to stop printing puzzles in your paper?
So many folks’ brains will go to mush or vapor
Just make the font on foreclosures smaller
Rather than making a lot of us holler
Puzzles make us think
Keep them, don’t put up a stink