WATERKEEPER®ALLIANCE Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. President 2010 Annual Renewal Campaign Dear Supporting Member of Waterkeeper Alliance: As I write you, WaterkeeperMessage 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2010View SourceWATERKEEPER®ALLIANCE
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. President
2010 Annual Renewal Campaign
Dear Supporting Member of Waterkeeper Alliance:
As I write you, Waterkeeper Alliance — along with several local North Carolina waterkeepers — is preparing to sue a 7,000-head hog factory operation in federal court for violating the Clean Water Act.
Our suit is based on many months of extensive water sampling data and photographic evidence. Aerial photographs of this property tell a frightening tale.
There are several large open-air waste pits -- lagoons — of hog urine and feces situated on the farm along the coastal plain. These types of pits are commonly used by industrial livestock operations to dispose of the waste, but they are prone to leak into the wetlands, streams, creeks and rivers — especially during heavy rains.
Our case puts all the large hog operations throughout the state on notice. North Carolina produces nearly 10 million hogs a year in these massive factory-style farms. Unlike human waste, livestock waste is typically not treated. It's dumped into open pits — emitting toxic gases into the air as it decomposes — running off into rivers, contaminating drinking supplies downstream and killing millions of fish.
I know we can win this case, which will have a profound impact on similar operations in the area! Three years ago, Waterkeeper Alliance settled a long-running lawsuit against two meat factories run by Smithfield Foods in North Carolina. Our victory requires that Smithfield improve environmental protection at all of their 275 factories across the state.
We have the law and science on our side. Our local Waterkeeper programs are (1) protecting rural watersheds by monitoring, documenting and suing polluters, (2) preventing the spread of factory-style agriculture and (3) promoting the security of family-owned, sustainable farms.
Through our Pure Farms Pure Water Campaign, Waterkeeper Alliance is-
documenting the devastation and pursuing the violators. That's why I ask that you return your 2010 Annual Supporting Membership contribution to Waterkeeper Alliance. Our goal is to raise $50,000 in the next 60 days, which will allow us to expand these and other important environmental initiatives.
With our success in winning legal battles against the hog industry in North Carolina, Waterkeeper Alliance went to clean up the Chesapeake Bay from the poultry industry. The Delmarva Peninsula — the land mass which makes up the eastern border of the Chesapeake Bay --is one of the major centers of chicken production in the United States. Approximately 567 million chickens are produced in the region each year.
While most of the chickens are shipped to consumers around the world, their voluminous waste is dumped raw onto local fields on the peninsula. This waste contains high levels of nutrients, bacteria, antibiotics and metals. It seeps into local creeks, streams and rivers, causing ecosystem imbalances and drinking water contamination — contributing significantly to the destruction of the Chesapeake Bay.
Literally billions of pounds of chicken litter have flowed into the bay in the decades since international poultry conglomerates such as Perdue and Tyson targeted the Delmarva Peninsula for their multi-million-dollar operations.
For years, Maryland and other local enforcement agencies refused to hold the polluters accountable for poisoning the beloved bay. That's why Waterkeeper Alliance sued the State of Maryland for trying to keep the polluting practices of this industry secret. And we won!
Today, large scale chicken factory farms must obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act and have a publicly available plan to manage their waste. We've made great progress on our Chesapeake Poultry Initiative in the past three years.
As I write you, we are building cases against several hog and poultry facilities. We are now working to shift the accountability from the local farmers to the large corporations.
And so earlier this month, we sued an 80,000-chicken farm operation for polluting the Pocomoke River that flows into the Chesapeake. In the same case, we also sued Perdue, which contracts with the farm for the chickens. A victory in this case would have an impact across the region.
Waterkeeper Alliance's work in the Chesapeake Bay means a great deal to me. Along with my brothers and sisters, I learned to swim, fish and crab in the bay, which is about an hour east of Washington D.C.
Sadly, the Chesapeake Bay is dying. Dangerous toxins deplete the oxygen in the water and has killed two-thirds of the bay's underwater grass beds. Without these beds, crabs, fish and waterfowl disappear. With them go the plentiful seafood, jobs for watermen, and safe places for our children and families to fish and swim.
Agricultural pollution is one of the greatest threats to the health of our waterways. Waterkeeper Alliance will continue to document and force the polluters to clean up their act. In addition to our work in North Carolina and the Chesapeake Bay, we are working to curb dairy farm pollution in California.
I know we can win these fights. That's why I urge you to make your 2010 Annual Renewal contribution to Waterkeeper Alliance today. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Chairman of the Board
P.S. One of the most efficient ways to support our legal, scientific and advocacy work is by joining the Waterkeeper Alliance Sustaining Members Circle with a modest monthly pledge of $15, $20, or more. For less than 50-cents a day, you can strengthen your support of Waterkeeper Alliance and allow us to spend more of your dollars on protecting our environment. See the enclosed reply form for details.
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