Evan Isaacson's February 23, 2016 testimony before the Maryland Senate Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs on the Poultry Litter Management Act.
In the drought summer of 2001, a simmering conflict between agricultural and environmental interests in southern Oregon's Upper Klamath Basin turned into a guerrilla war of protests, vandalism, and apocalyptic rhetoric when the federal Bureau of Reclamation shut down the headgates of the Klamath Project to conserve water needed by endangered species. This was the first time in U.S. history that the headgates of a federal irrigation project were closed—and irrigators denied the use of their state water rights—in favor of conservation. Farmers went so far as to mount a brief rebellion to keep the water flowing, but ultimately conceded defeat. In Water War in the Klamath Basin: Macho Law, Combat Biology and Dirty Politics, CPR Member Scholars Holly Doremus and A. Dan Tarlock examine the genesis of the crisis and the fallout from it.
Over the past two decades, Delmarva agriculture has shifted from traditional, diversified family farming to a more industrialized system of raising animals. Large, powerful companies dictate how animals are raised, processed, and sold and bear no responsibility for the public health impacts and environmental degradation in our local communities. The disastrous consequences have been highlighted, and in some cases exacerbated, by the current COVID-19 crisis. During a May 26, 2020, virtual town hall, regional experts and local community members shared the latest science, regulatory and policy actions, community perspectives, and possible solutions. The town hall was presented free with support from the Town Creek Foundation.
CPR's close look at nitrate pollution in drinking water on Maryland's Eastern Shore raises serious safety concerns. According to county data in the region, tens of thousands of residents are drinking water with elevated nitrate levels, almost certainly due to animal waste from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) nearby. Moreover, the state's lax requirements for well water testing makes it impossible to know just how widespread the problem is.
Dangerous nitrate pollution has contaminated private drinking water wells and public water utilities in several regions across the United States, posing a significant threat to people's health. A new report from CPR indicates that this problem has reached Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore, an agricultural area that's home to hundreds of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and millions of chickens.