Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Farmers Need Haliburton Loophole Too

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Today EPA sent out a press release reporting that a PA dairy farmer has been ordered to provide drinking water to his neighbors. Seems he contaminated their well water.

According to David Sternberg at the EPA, the order requires the dairy farmer to provide an alternative source of drinking water to the owners of the contaminated well within 10 days of the effective date of the agency’s order. The order also requires the farmer to pay for sampling of the contaminated well, and to develop an effective plan to manage his dairy operation’s process wastewater, and manure.  The dairy farmer has said he intends to comply with the order.

Back in November an EPA inspector determined that the farm was not taking adequate measures for managing manure. Their manure management allowed contaminants such as fecal coliform bacteria, including E. coli, and ammonia to infiltrate underground sources of drinking water through sinkholes on the farm property.

If not managed properly, notes EPA,  animal feeding operations can be sources of contaminants such as fecal coliform bacteria, nitrate, and ammonia.  These contaminants can endanger human health, harm local water quality, and may also cause detrimental effects to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

I’m not going to defend sloppy manure management, but you’ve got to wonder: how can Cabot get away without providing a permanent source of water to those 18 families in Dimock, PA? How come Anschutz isn’t building a pipeline for the folks in Horseheads, NY? Where’s the frackin’ justice?

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