hog waste

Monday must-read: Barry Yeoman's hog lawsuit essay

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Sometimes you gotta take a stand:

In a federal courtroom in Raleigh, North Carolina, a 14-year-old honor student named Alexandria McKoy swore to tell the truth. Then she settled in to testify against the world’s largest pork producer.

McKoy had traveled 90 miles from Bladen County, part of the flat and farm-heavy coastal plain that covers most of eastern North Carolina. Her family lives on a sandy cul-de-sac that recedes into a driveway flanked by “No Trespassing” signs. Her mother grew up on that land, working in the fields with her sharecropper father and playing in the woods nearby.

These stories are powerful, because they bring the issue to life. There is no better demonstration of the complexity of property rights than the hog farmer vs. neighbor situation, especially when both are multi-generational natives to the area. Here's more:

Monday Numbers: NC's CAFO nightmare is getting worse

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Complaints about the handling of animal wastes are on the rise:

Stench and flies. Noise and traffic. Waste flowing into waterways. Manure-infused spray. Complaints about industrialized livestock farms prompted the NC Department of Environmental Quality to inspect those facilities at the second-highest rate in 10 years, according to a report recently submitted to the legislative Environment Review Commission.

From June 30, 2018, to July 1, 2019, 8.3% – or 215 – of the 2,571 state inspections were driven by complaints. In the the previous fiscal year, the rate was 9.4%, the highest in at least a decade. In 2016, only eight-tenths of 1% of DEQ inspections were the result of complaints: Just 19 of 2,237 total inspections.

And again the "property rights" crowd from NC's faux-Libertarian "think-tanks" are either silent or on the wrong side. There is simply no justification for one neighbor to spray shit on another neighbor, but it happens daily. Imagine if that were a suburban or urban neighborhood, and the sheer outrage that would ensue. Oh, you want to have a cookout or garden party in the back yard? Here's a little airborne gift for you. That contradiction goes to the core of environmental justice issues across the state, and has been that way since the birth of our nation. And hog farms make up the bulk of those operations:

Misleading and disingenuous: Smithfield's lawyers push the boundaries in hog nuisance lawsuit

And NC State (knowingly or not) is complicit in the deception:

Anderson, representing Smithfield, had attempted to liken Kinlaw’s waste management system — flushing the barns with wastewater and emptying the manure and urine into open lagoons to be sprayed hundreds of feet in the air onto fields — to that at a research farm operated by NC State University off Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh. Just three miles from the courthouse, Anderson argued, and yet people in downtown smelled nothing.

However, Rogers had visited that research farm as well, and conducted studies there. The only similarity is that both facilities are farms. The NC State faciliy has 1,000 hogs; Kinlaw has nearly 15,000. The NCSU farm uses clean water to flush the barns, sharply reducing the odors. The university farm, unlike Kinlaw, also removes solid particles that go into the lagoon, also reducing the odor, and has a different treatment system. “It’s not a fair comparison,” Rogers said.

Of course it's not a fair comparison. It's like apples and orange Crayons, only eating the Crayons probably wouldn't ruin your life or tank your property values. And while I realize this is civil court, where there's more leeway for rhetorical ad-hominem attacks, this particular dog-whistle should have been snatched out of their hands by the judge:

North Carolina's out-of-control CAFO problem

This little piggy killed a bunch of fish:

The map shows 4,100 lagoons holding hog waste and 3,900 chicken barns scattered across the state -- many of them in Bladen and Sampson counties, where the map almost bleeds pink from lagoon sites.

Brunswick and Pender counties have plenty of lagoons and hog farms, too. "Wet waste" output in Brunswick amounts to nearly 67 million gallons per year. In Pender, where 2.6 million chickens live, the figures are 298 million gallons of wet waste annually and 28,000 tons of dry waste.

Bolding mine. And yet, we've got idiots like Harry Brown drawing up maps of Eastern North Carolina in an effort to smother wind energy growth in our state, while he allows an environmental and public health crisis to continue unabated:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Arsenic and hog waste choking the Neuse

The Riverkeeper details the damage:

Every hour of every day, the coal ash pits on the bank of the Neuse River are illegally leaking dangerous contamination into the surrounding ground and surface water. In fact, one of the criminal charges against Duke Energy was for “negligently” constructing one of these creek-like discharges that continues to flow into the Neuse from the ash pits at this dump. The Lee site has the highest levels of arsenic contamination of all Duke’s ash dumps in North Carolina.

But yet another continuous source of pollution looms on the banks and tributaries of the Neuse: industrial hog operations, most of which are controlled by foreign corporate interests. Over 500 of the 2,000 industrial hog factories in North Carolina call the Neuse River Basin home. The 10 million hogs that live in our state produce roughly as much waste as 100 million people.

Much like coal ash, hog waste contamination has been a huge problem for decades. We haven't done nearly enough to abate the problem, but it looks like the new "business-friendly" administration of Skvarla and McCrory has dropped the ball entirely:

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