January 30, 2013

Gov Cuomo wants to do what?

Thanks to EcoWatch for this excellent article regarding Governor Cuomo’s proposal to roll-back environmental protections for the state’s waterways from pollution for industrial-scale dairy operations commonly known as CAFO, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
"Governor Cuomo asserts that eliminating water protection standards will fuel economic expansion in the dairy industry by eliminating the cost of pollution controls."    
The concept of industrialized farming is a whole topic unto itself and not the main emphasis here.  What we need to see clearly is the intention and maneuvering of the state regulations that protect our waters.  Under NO circumstances can we allow our state government (or federal government for that matter) to eliminate protective regulations of our water in order to enhance industrial operations. 

Gosh, does this sound kind of familiar?  Back in 2005 the Bush - Cheney administration supported the same ideology on the national level and exempted a large industrial scale operation - the oil and gas industry - from the federal Clean Water and Clean Air acts for their drilling operations!  It may seem like a different field of play, but it is the exact same policy:  if you are big enough, its OK to get free of our pollution controls.

While it is true that the current move by Gov. Cuomo relates specifically to the dairy industry in NY, a legal precedent will be set if this proposal becomes part of state regulations.  Perhaps there is another "industrial - scale" operation seeking to work in NY that wants exemption from the state's pollution controls of its water?  If our state exempts one industrial scale operation from pollution controls, the natural gas industry would have a strong argument to get an exemption as well for HVHF gas drilling.
One other potential legality to consider:
  • Suppose natural gas drilling with HVHF commences in NY. 
  • Suppose there are drilling operations upstream from dairy operations. 
  • Suppose there is an accident, spill, or leakage and contamination results in the waters. 
  • Suppose those aquifers and waters feed the farmlands.
  • Suppose the dairy cows graze on pastures that are being fed with contaminated water. 
What feeds the herd, feeds the product. The food chain is that strongly connected. Who is culpable?  Who is exempt?

We cannot give favoritism to corporate profit over the safety of citizens and the environment.  Whether it's from farm, field or a manufacturing site, every size corporation has a responsibility to ensure that its product is produced in a safe and healthful manner.  

Water is too precious a commodity to use as a poker chip in the game of profits.

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