Who's standing up to the bay's big polluters?

March 04, 2010

I was gratified to see in today's paper that the Assateague Coast Keeper and Waterkeeper Alliance had filed a lawsuit against Perdue for polluting the Chesapeake Bay via the Pocomoke River (" Perdue, Md. chicken farm sued," Mar. 3). I was, however, shocked to read that this lawsuit is "the first to target Maryland's chicken industry for water pollution."

Is this correct? No other environmental group, like the long-established Chesapeake Bay Foundation, or state agencies, Maryland Department of Natural Resources or the attorney general, have ever taken on these giant polluters like Perdue or Tyson?

These greedy corporations own the feed and the chicks but exploit farmers by leaving them literally holding the manure. If people have not noticed, the bay is in critical condition with more pollution coming in through population growth and development than the system can sustain, even with improvements to local sewer treatment facilities, land-based buffer zones, etc. The 40-mile-wide dead zone from oxygen depletion in the bay is growing, not receding.

Where are the politicans, academics, activists? The public knows about war profiteers like Halliburton and KBR; Wall Street crooks such as Chase, AIG and Goldman-Sachs; but who has the moral courage to take on the big industrial polluters of the bay?

As recently reported, the govenor is commenting on Exxon's local groundwater pollution situation ("O'Malley wants MDE to reconsider Exxon decision," Mar. 3). However, that is relatively small compared to the expansive bay-wide pollution of agri-business or the resource emploitation by factory fishing operations. .

Tom Hall

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