Lose, Place, Show: Saratoga's Biggest Gamble
"I want you to be concerned about your next door
neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?
- Mother Teresa
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Yesterday (July 30, 2014), I wrote about the racetrack
at Saratoga, New York.
Today's column is about what happens when good neighbors
meet their nightmarish neighbor from hell, and what happens
to the full-time year-round residents of Saratoga after
the racing fans go home and the hills of horse manure
are replaced by mountains of cow manure. It is about the
deep Saratoga spas and wells that will soon not be so well.
On July 28, 2014, long after Saratoga zoning board officials
refused to issue a building permit to a 5,300-cow dairy
farm CAFO (Controlled Animal Feeding Operation), a New York
State appeals court upheld a circuit court decision and
ordered the town to issue building permits for Golden Sands
Family Farm and Dairy.
The Saratoga sands might soon be golden from 127,000 gallons
of fresh bovine urine added each day to Saratoga's ecosystem.
Residents of two nearby communities (Saratoga, New York and
Rome, New York) will live close to this CAFO which has
applied for and received permission to dig 39 high capacity
wells. Their concerns about odor pollution and ground
pollution of water are enormous. Nitrates and glyphosates
(used in pesticides from GMO crops grown to feed cows)
from the proposed 6,000 acre dairy operation have the potential
to compromise resident's drinking water. Such has occurred
to neighbors of previous CAFO operations.
The 39 high capacity wells will have the capacity of pumping
7.3 billion gallons of water out of the region's underground
aquifer reserves each year.
Consequences? Does history ever repeat itself?
Midwest Environmental Advocates in Wisconsin reports:
"Visit Kewaunee County, neighbor to the alluring Door County,
and you will pass shuttered downtown storefronts, algae-clogged
beaches...29 percent of the county's wells are unsafe for
drinking and property values are down 30 percent...local water
quality monitoring efforts show that roughly eight tons of
phosphorus per year enters the Kewaunee River, creating 3.2
billion pounds of algae...16 dairy confined animal feeding
operations are sited right in Kewaunee County, making it a
fitting case study for the threats that CAFOs pose to the
environment and their neighbors...Manure runoff causes a host
of well-documented problems, including toxic algae blooms,
drinking water contaminated with nitrates or coliform bacteria
and an impaired habitat for aquatic plants and animals."
* * * *
"Human use, population, and technology have reached
that certain stage where mother Earth no longer
accepts our presence with silence."
- Dalai Lama XIV
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