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Author Archive

The Real And True Consequences Of CAFOs

Factory farms poisoning IowaThis letter to the editor of a local Iowa newspaper will blow you away.

https://www.waukonstandard.com/articles/2016/04/06/letter-editor-health-concerns-regarding-proposed-cafo-swine-allamakee-county

To the Editor:

The proposal by Reicks Farms for the Confinement Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) filled with swine to be built in Allamakee County on the former farm homesteaded by the Marti and Clark family off Highway 9 past the Landmark on Kedary Ridge Road presents a variety of concerns for this wife, mother of two young children, and nurse practitioner.

The research I found regarding the illness, health problems and mortality regarding large swine feeding operations is quite concerning. Air, water and soil quality are all affected by this type of operation. The gas produced from the hog setup will release 71 volatile compounds into the air we breathe and can cause asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, burning eyes, weakness, numbness, difficulty speaking, blurred vision, night blindness, organic dust toxic syndrome, pharyngitis, sore throat and pulmonary edema. All of these air-borne pathogens and disease states can be prevented by not allowing a large confinement of 13,000 pigs to be built.

Furthermore, there are 10 disease pathogens found in pig manure. The state of Iowa had 67 manure spills in just one year, 2015. This averages to be one manure spill in the state of Iowa every five days. The disease pathogens can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, rash, fever, chills, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, open sores and dehydration. The sources of infections from pathogens include fecal-oral transmission, inhalation, drinking water, or incidental water consumption during recreational activities. The potential for transfer of pathogens is higher in a confinement setup, as there are more animals per smaller amount of space.

Another alarming finding was the evidence of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) found in pigs resulting in contaminating workers and their families in 45% of the participants in the study. There is currently no cure and limited treatment options for MRSA, which could result in exposing an entire family and community to increased infection rates.

Those with weakened immune systems are at risk for severe illness or death. The high risk population includes infants or young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those that are immunosuppressed, HIV positive or have had chemotherapy. All ages will be affected by the construction of this large hog setup, especially the neighbors surrounding the proposed building site.

My job as a parent, nurse practitioner and citizen of Allamakee County is to protect the environment, my children and my patients from death and spread of disease. The hog setup will be 2,184 feet from our home placing our family at risk. Allowing the building of this hog confinement, and others like it in Allamakee County, will have serious environmental ramifications. The quality of our water, soil and air will be affected, but most importantly the health of our family, neighbors and friends will be affected.

Please voice your opinion at the community meeting and help us stop this and future hog confinements from ruining our beautiful Allamakee County.

Becky Krambeer
Lansing

Republicans Reveal The Real Purpose Of Voter ID Laws

Republicans have openly talked about the real purpose of voter ID laws.  Republicans “giddy” about taking constitutional rights away.  Kochs introduced this legislation years ago at an ALEC conference.  Watch.

 

We Can Still Stop The Bakken Pipeline

Bakken Pipeline Proposed RouteAction Alert from change.org

Demand the Army Corps reject the pipeline!

April Richards Burch
Boone, IA

Apr 10, 2016 — The EPA has now recommended that the Corps prepare a second environmental assessment and complete an Environmental Impact Statement for the entirety of the pipeline. They have also recommended that the Corps open a 2nd public comment period. This is good news.

Keep up the pressure on the Corps to follow through. Our allies at ICCI have composed a petition to demand this second public comment period and public meeting. Please sign and share.

Tell The Army Corps: Deny the Bakken Pipeline

We need a full Environmental Impact Assessment that leads to no pipeline!

The only thing preventing Dakota Access from beginning construction on the Bakken Pipeline is the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) permit.

Tell the Army Corps to deny the permit and conduct a full environmental impact statement today!

In light of a recent victory for our Native American brothers and sisters fighting the pipeline in the Dakotas – three federal agencies have written letters telling ACE to do a more thorough environmental impact study before granting their permit for the Bakken Pipeline.

Click here to read the letters.  EPA ,   DOI ACHP.

But, the recommendation for an environmental impact study is limited to the areas where tribal lands are directly impacted. It is impossible for the ACE to grasp the true consequences of this toxic project if they consider it piece by piece.

Take Action Now: tell the Army Corps they must consider the entire pipeline and ultimately reject the permit!

Feds Recommend Environmental Impact Study On Proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline

Dakota access proposed route
indigenousrising.org

Federal Agencies Support Tribes, Scold Army Corps of Engineers on Bakken Pipeline

Bemidji, MN – In a surprising act of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, three federal agencies have sent formal letters to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recommending that a full environmental impact statement be conducted on the proposed route of the Dakota Access pipeline, a bakken crude oil infrastructure project of Energy Transfer Partners.

The agency letters from The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation point out a general confusion why a fuller analysis of the project’s environmental impacts is not being conducted for the 1,168-mile crude oil pipeline. Furthermore, the letters severely criticize and question the Army Corps of Engineers lack of consultation with tribal nations about the pipeline project, a process required by federal law.

Online PDF versions of letters here: EPA, DOI, ACHP

The USACE is mandated under CFR 800 to initiate consultation with tribes whose historic properties may be affected by the pipeline route. This includes: consultation with the tribes, identification of historic and tribal properties that may be affected and resolution of adverse effects to those properties. This entire process has not occurred.

Grassroots Indigenous leaders have demanded that the Dakota Access pipeline be rejected for the following reasons:

The USACE utterly failed to consult, coordinate, and obtain consent from the tribal nations who could potentially be paved over and polluted by the pipeline’s planned route and it’s impacts.

The impacts on public drinking water, the proximity to tribal communities, and impacts on culturally sensitive areas were not adequately taken into account, furthermore, present too great of a risk to legitimize building this pipeline.

And lastly, society cannot afford to lock itself into more oil extraction and development while leading scientists of the world state that in order to avoid major climate chaos and loss of life we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Native and non-native landowners, tribes and communities from states along its route have actively resisted the proposed crude oil pipeline that will connect the Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to an oil terminal hub in Patoka, Illinois. Most recently, Dakota and Lakota citizens on the Standing Rock Sioux Nation have erected a spiritual encampment as a blockade on the proposed pipeline crossing near Cannonball, ND. The pipeline will carry at least 450,000 barrels of oil per day.

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Section 106 Coordintor Standing Rock Tribal Historic Preservation Office, Landowner on the Cannon Ball River states:

“We are so thankful that the EPA, DOI, and the Advisory Council are requesting a full EIS on the Dakota Access Pipeline and hoping that the Army Corp of Engineers listen to the request of these agencies and to the Native communities who will be affected by this dirty Bakken pipeline.”

Joye Braun Cheyenne River Sioux community organizer states:

“I’m extremely happy that these federal departments are asking for a full EIS and listening to tribal concerns. Tribal Concerns are everyone’s concern. Safe water, is everyone’s right. We are not expendable.”

Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In The Ground Campaign Organizer for The Indigenous Environmental Network states:

“It is impressive to see these federal agencies stand up in support of the Standing Rock Lakota Nation and acknowledge tribe’s right to be consulted on any extractive development that impacts lands, water, and peoples within their territory. And although a full EIS is a welcomed step to hold Dakota Access accountable, the only way we can truly protect the land and water is by rejecting such dirty oil projects, enact just transition policy towards renewable energy and keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”

NRA Should Not Pick SCOTUS

iowans-guns-web-version-jpeg300X300Action Alert from Iowans for Gun Safety:

Thanks to the influence of the gun lobby, US Senators (including Grassley and Ernst) have vowed to deny President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee a hearing—never mind an up or down vote. But the Constitution is clear: It’s the President’s job to nominate Supreme Court justices, and it’s the Senate’s job to consider them.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he can’t imagine the US Senate confirming a nominee that is not endorsed by the NRA. Since when did the gun lobby get to decide?

Join us in the Call for Nine campaign now.

Tell Grassley and Ernst: it’s time to fulfill their constitutional responsibility, consider Chief Judge Merrick Garland and restore the Supreme Court to nine justices.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Brigham, Executive Director
Iowans for Gun Safety

Act Now To Stop Proposed 7,499 Hog CAFO In Allamakee County

Factory farms poisoning Iowa*Note from BFIA: This petition is not available online. To sign a hard copy of this petition, see instructions below.

Action alert from Allamakee County Protectors:

Allamakee County is faced with another challenge! There is a large confined animal feed operation proposed near one of our finest trout streams. Attached is a petition that you can print, sign and send back.

Many residents and tourist enjoy the area in jeopardy. Many people from other states enjoy the beauty of this area, so feel free to sign even if you don’t reside in our state.

What we know.
1. There will be a county supervisors hearing on the permit by the end of April.

2. The location is near Village Creek west of Lansing, IA.

3. Jones Creek which naturally produces trout feeds to Village Creek and then to the Mississippi. The CAFO would directly impact these waterways if a manure spill occurred.

4. The CAFO will be 3 buildings housing 7,499 hogs each owned by Reicks.

5. Reicks produced approx. 640,000 hogs last year and this permit is an attempt to move into Allamakee County.

Please sign the petition so our supervisors are aware this is something we don’t want devastating the people, plants or animals of this delicate area.

Thanks,

Robert Nehman, Executive Director
Allamakee County Protectors
P.O. Box 32, New Albin, Iowa 52160
Email: isisjoy520@aol.com
Phone: 608-385-3111
Petition opposing Reick’s factory hog
farm in Allamakee County

“Grassroots action on the CAFO issue is urgently needed. There is a 30-day window to deal with this issue before it is out of local hands, and 10 of those days are already gone!! This is winnable if we can show enough interest via the attached petition.

Every signature is precious. And we want people everywhere to print the petition, get as many family members and friends to sign, and then return. The address to send the petition to is at the bottom of the page.

Other than the petition, there is only one way people can help stop the monstrous CAFO. That is to attend and speak-up at the one public hearing that the county supervisors will hold. No date for that petition has been set yet. But everyone feels it must be within the next 20-days.

Thank you for your help with this. It will be greatly appreciated by all who stand to lose a great deal of money on greatly depreciated property values, widespread stink, pollution of an OIW (Outstanding Iowa Waterway – Village Creek), destroyed rural roads and bridges, and overall loss of quality of life.  – Ric Zarwell”

 

Petition text:

Family Farms, Yes! — Out Of County Factory Farms, No!

“We – the undersigned – value our rural communities, family farms, and quality of life. We support local farmers
and their families. We strongly oppose large-scale, corporate-owned factory farms with operations
throughout the state that pose a real risk to the quality of our air and water, the value of our homes and
farmsteads, destruction of the county roads, and the direct threat to Village Creek- which is a named and
recognized ‘Outstanding Iowa Waterway’. We are particularly concerned about recent news that Reicks
View Family Farms of Lawler,!Iowa, is planning to build a factory farm this year near Village Creek. Therefore,
we call on our County Supervisors to stand with us in opposing this development and in so doing helping to
protect the residents of Allamakee County and the property they own. We also call upon the DNR and its
director, Chuck Gipp, to uphold their mission statement and protect the natural resources of Iowa.”

Include name, street address, city/state, email

 

People Get Ready: The Coming Fight

John Nichols/The Nation

John Nichols/The Nation

“If we don’t have big D Democracy very soon, we will all be serfs to corporate capitalism.” – John Nichols

John Nichols and Bob McChesney started the modern day media reform movement with Free Press in 1997. They have a new book out called People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy.

Nichols is one of the smartest guys out there.  “He is a compass, a guide to savvy, humane, progressive thought whose span of knowledge is remarkable.”  This video is long, but once you get past the intros and Nichols starts talking, quite worth it.  Also find out how he credits Sarah Palin with the idea that Socialism no longer seems as scary a thing as capitalism.  And the Lewis Powell Memo. And much, much more.

 

Spy Drones Expose The Horrors Of Factory Farms

Factory farms poisoning IowaThe Citizen Drone Project – directed by Speciesism: The Movie filmmaker Mark Devries – uses spy drones to expose the hidden practices of companies that are putting the health and lives of everyday citizens in danger. Its debut investigation, Spy Drones Expose Smithfield Foods Factory Farms, featured the world’s first drone footage of factory farms, and has been viewed by millions worldwide.

 

Public Meeting Needed On Hog Processing Plant

Factory farms poisoning IowaHere is a letter to the editor of the Mason City Globe Gazette that needs to be read by every Iowan.

globegazette.com

by Chris Peterson

As many know, there is a proposal in the works for a large-scale meatpacking plant in Mason City where live hogs will be shipped, killed and processed.

This is a big step for Mason City, Clear Lake and northern Iowa and an unknown positive or negative for the future. It is essential for the general public — not just politicians — to evaluate risks and ask questions.

Is the city ready to accept everything it is being told by the company? Investigations into other packing plant towns should be conducted and citizens there should be asked what the smell and air-quality impacts have been for them as well as the plant workers.

This is a valid concern as the proposed plant is directly south of town and the prevailing southerly winds will blow toward Mason City most of the time.

Another issue is the massive use of water it will take to kill and process 10,000 pigs daily. If city infrastructure can’t handle the usage, taxpayers will pick up the bill. Also, keep in mind pigs dress out at approximately 72 percent meat. The rest will have to be processed into something else or become waste. How will this waste be handled? These things need to be investigated beyond inquiring with the company and those with a stake in the project.

Another fact is the pigs will not be from traditional independent family farmers. A majority of traditional independent pig farmers are being put out of business by the corporate meatpacking industry. Big meatpacking companies control the market by owning their own factory farms or by controlling their supply through contracts with vertically integrated industrial farms where the packers own the hogs and the farmers basically own the debt for the hog buildings and the waste they leave behind.

If this plant is constructed, the pigs will have to come from somewhere. Slaughter plants of this size typically bring pigs from a 75-mile radius — any further than that and you have additional costs of transport, higher death rates, etc.

This plant won’t be able to siphon hogs away from other plants based on the way the industry operates. This means that with a 10,000-a-day kill rate, the plant won’t have enough pigs to fill its demand. What will result is a massive industrial hog-confinement building boom in northern Iowa.

If you are an established family farm/acreage owner and finally put up your dream home in the last few years, the use and enjoyment of your property and quality of life will tank if a hog confinement goes up near you. Under current state law, basically the first line of defense is to pray daily.

There will be a lot of liquid sewage generated, which will be applied all over your neighborhood and beyond. The big picture is it will be all about big corporations, lots of hogs, manure and negative consequences.

So, is this a deal with the devil — a kiss of death, so to speak — for Mason City and northern Iowa? Are we giving away our quality of life, water quality, enjoyment of property, a clean environment, our health and vibrant tourist industries in Mason City and Clear Lake which have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years?

We need the truth and these questions answered before this is welcomed into our community. So far it seems things have gone on behind closed doors with no transparency. We just get occasional “progress” updates in the media. Where do the citizens of northern Iowa fit into this?

At the very least, I call for a public hearing so the residents get these questions answered, full information and have a say about our future. After all, Mason City folks, it’s your town and this area is our home! Let your mayors, city councils, county health and supervisors know there needs to be a public meeting.

Chris Petersen, Clear Lake, is a farmer and is associated with the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (www.sraproject.org) and works across the United States.

Iowans To Demonstrate At Closed-Door Grassley Event

When you don't do your job there is lots of time for gardening

When you don’t do your job there is lots of time for gardening

Action alert from WhyCourtsMatterIowa

Iowans will stand together and call for Senator Grassley to hold a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee for Judge Merrick Garland

Carroll, Iowa — Wednessday at 9:45 am the Why Courts Matter Iowa coalition and volunteers will hold a demonstration near St. Anthony Regional Hospital immediately prior to a private event held by Senator Grassley. The coalition learned of the event as a result of its ‘Where is Chuck’ hotline and confirmed via local sources.

Constituents across Iowa have criticized Grassley since his controversial stance to hold off the Supreme Court nomination hearing until next year. Iowans have flooded state and local newspaper outlets calling for Grassley to “Do Your Job” and hold a hearing. In response, Grassley has scaled back the number of public events being held in Iowa while the Senate is in recess. Iowans want to let Grassley know that they will not be ignored. They want the 35 year incumbent Senator to know that he cannot hide from his constituents or duck their scrutiny.

Last week, Why Courts Matter Iowa coalition established, a “Where’s Chuck?” Hotline for tips on Grassley’s whereabouts and private events. Iowans across the state called the hotline and sent emails not only with information but frustration and anger. Iowans reported unfriendly interaction with Grassley staff and difficulty reaching anyone at any of Grassley’s offices. Why Courts Matter Iowa is holding a public demonstration to stand up for every Iowan who is disappointed in Grassley and his obstruction.

WHO: Why Courts Matter Iowa coalition members and volunteers

WHAT: Iowans demonstrating against Sen. Grassley’s Supreme Court obstruction

WHEN: Wednesday, March 30, 9:45 AM

WHERE: The public sidewalk at the corner of South Clark Street & Anthony Street Near St. Anthony Regional Hospital; 311 S Clark St, Carroll

The Why Courts Matter Iowa coalition is focused on ensuring that the federal judiciary is representative of America’s diverse population and ending the judicial vacancy crisis so that every American can have his or her day in court. Why Courts Matter Iowa is affiliated with the Why Courts Matter coalition, and is led by Iowa Citizen Action Network, Americans for Democratic Action Iowa, Progress Iowa, and One Iowa. For more information visit whycourtsmatter.com.

Where is Chuck hotline: (515) 421-8997