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Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
environmental problems created by this
extensive factory farming, especially that
of Tyson (since I am intimately familiar with
theirs). I have no reason to doubt that
there are similar situations in other locations
around this country - indeed the world.
I have been following a story lately through
some of my different sources I have that
gather news of interest to me in this fight.
I would like to bring your attention to a
local problem that is probably representative
of the bigger picture of what is happening
to this planet we call home.
Now, I have told you of local incidents, even
the one where the EPA stepped in and shut
Tyson down for a week as well as fining them,
even though that part was a pittance compared
to what they rake in every day.
I first noticed a story from the AP on Saturday,
October 18, 2003 entitled, "NW ARKANSAS
Focus : Enforce standards, attorney tells EPA"
that sheds light on a growing problem that
doesn't seem to be getting much better.
Check this out:
Almost a year ago, Oklahoma proposed a
phosphorus level of 0.037 parts per million
for scenic rivers, including the Illinois, and
presented it to federal authorities.
Arkansas regulators and the poultry industry
protested the plan for rivers that start in
Arkansas and flow into Oklahoma. Arkansas
Gov. Mike Huckabee said the limit was unattain-
able because of Northwest Arkansas' dense
development and it could harm the area's economy.
Among the disagreements between state officials
is how to precisely measure phosphorus in
waterways. Illinois River samples taken during
calm conditions will show much lower levels of
phosphorus than during a storm, when agricultural
phosphorus accumulated in the watershed is more
likely to make its way down to the river, said Dr.
Marc Nelson with the Arkansas Water Resources Ctr.
Oklahoma officials submitted the standard Nov. 1,
2002, and the 90-day period ended in February. As
of Thursday, there had been no action on the
standard, Shipley said.
Instead of approval or refusal, the EPA has tried
to act as a mediator for negotiations between the
states, said Ed Brocksmith, who has been active in
the Save The Illinois River campaign and the Oklahoma
Scenic Rivers Commission. "I'm not sure if that is the
role of EPA," Brocksmith said. "I think their job is to
get moving on this rule."
I agree. We can't just trash our neighbors water
and land and tell them that we're sorry, but we
can't help it. That is would just cost us too much
money to do anything about it, so tough. But,
that does appear to be the way the situation is
going to pan out, at least for now. Here's the
latest on this problem:
Regulators pose new water rules
BY DAVID HAMMER THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Posted on Saturday, October 25, 2003
Arkansas regulators say they hope new statewide
water quality standards proposed Friday will show
"a good-faith effort" to meet Oklahoma's demands
to reduce pollution in the Illinois River shared by
the two states.
Almost a year ago, Oklahoma declared the Illinois a
scenic river and decreed that the river must contain
less than 0.037 milligrams of phosphorus per liter
But the river starts in Northwest Arkansas, and
Oklahoma couldn't unilaterally impose that standard
on the neighboring state.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency is
mediating negotiations, which have sputtered,
although some of the growing cities of Northwest
Arkansas have committed to limit phosphorus in
sewage discharges to 1 milligram per liter.
The state commission's proposals Friday would
standardize permitted pollution levels in bodies
of water throughout the state, specify phosphorous
discharge levels in Northwest Arkansas and give
municipal sewer systems until 2012 to comply.
Marcus Devine, director of the Arkansas Department
of Environmental Quality, said the regulation changes
were "just another demonstration of meeting
Oklahoma's requests with good-faith efforts."
The proposed changes set a sliding scale for the
concentration of phosphorus in discharges into a
stream, depending on how many millions of gallons
of water flow through the stream each day:
Discharges into streams with 500,000 to 1 million
gallons of water a day must limit the phosphorous
concentration in the discharges to 5 milligrams per
liter of water. 1 million to 3 million gallons a day, 2
milligrams of phosphorus per liter in discharge. 3
million to 15 million gallons a day, 1 milligram of
phosphorus per liter. 15 million gallons a day or more,
discharge phosphorous limits determined case by case.
Then I guess they just negotiate how much they are
allowed to contaminate everything. I love the way
they say (probably with a straight face, no less)
that they are "meeting Oklahoma's requests with
good-faith efforts." Although, it is true in the
literal sense. They are meeting the requests
with compliance, but with efforts. Not the same
thing, is it? Especially when there is a such a
difference in the numbers: .037 to 5.0 in some
cases, but at least .037 to 1.0. That is not much
of an effort at meeting the request, now is it?
Of course, even when they do step over the line
and pollute the neighbors, it only costs them a
fraction of profits. The following article will
demonstrate it nicely:
Tyson Foods Inc will pay $7.5 million to settle
issues with the U.S. government and Missouri
related to the discharge of untreated wastewater
into the storm water discharge system in Sedalia, Mo.
The world's largest poultry and meat processor will
pay $5.5 million to the United States, $1 million to
the Missouri Natural Resources Protection Fund and
$1 million to the Pettis County School Fund as part
of its settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice,
the Environmental Protection Agency and the State
of Missouri. In addition, it will pay for a third-party
environmental audit of the Sedalia operations;
implement a new management system in Sedalia and
eight other facilities; set up a new corporate chief
environmental officer position at its headquarters in
Springdale, Ark.; and conduct corporate-wide
environmental compliance audits at all remaining
poultry operations by the end of 2003.
Tyson said it has already completed modifications
to its facilities and procedures in Sedalia to ensure
future compliance with environmental regulations.
It also said a third-party environmental assessment
has confirmed that the problem caused no significant
or long-term impact.
The company said the settlement would have no
material impact on its earnings.
Well, no. I guess not. After all Tyson Foods is
the world's largest processor and marketer of
chicken, beef and pork, and the second largest
food company in the Fortune 500. Tyson employs
about 120,000 workers in 300 facilities and offices
in 29 states and 22 countries.
Boy, did I pick a big one when I took them on! ;)