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Press Releases: AllPress Releases Found: 1016
February 11, 2014
Supporters of Poultry Fair Share Act Challenge O’Malley’s Backing of Big Polluters in the Chesapeake Bay
Press Release: Proponents of the Poultry Fair Share Act today condemned Governor Martin O’Malley’s threat to veto the legislation that would require polluting factory farms to contribute to the clean up of the Chesapeake Bay. The groups speculate that O’Malley is bowing to agribusiness in his hopes of gaining critical support from farmers when he heads to Iowa as part of his presidential bid leading up to 2016 elections.
“Governor O’Malley is sorely mistaken if he thinks he’s going to come here to Iowa and get the support of our farming community because he refuses to hold companies like Perdue liable for their waste,” stated former president and current board member of the Iowa Farmers Union, Chris Petersen. “Companies like Perdue are no friend to real farmers, and neither are politicians like O’Malley who work to keep these big companies free from responsibility.”
A hearing for the Poultry Fair Share Act, introduced this year in the Maryland legislature is set for February 25 before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. The bill, which would require the large Eastern Shore poultry companies to contribute their fair share to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, was introduced in both the House, by Delegate Shane Robinson, and in the Senate by Senator Richard Madaleno, but was pulled from House consideration after Governor O’Malley promised industry that he would veto any bill that asks them to contribute to Bay cleanup in the way that all citizens in Maryland do.
February 10, 2014
Press Release: Today, Food & Water Watch sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to investigate the staffing deficiencies at the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) brought about by a questionable policy to hire temporary meat and poultry inspectors instead of full-time permanent inspection personnel.
February 7, 2014
Press Release: Today, Food & Water Watch in conjunction with Appeal To Reason Productions released a humorous new video revealing the myriad health and environmental issues with factory farmed chicken—the industrialized model under which most chicken served in the United States is produced.
Statement: “In yet another clear indication that Governor Martin O’Malley cares more about big agribusiness than he does about the state’s citizens, he announced last night at the Taste of Maryland annual dinner that he would veto a bill now before the state legislature that would require the four Eastern Shore chicken companies to contribute to the cost of the Chesapeake Bay restoration.
“Governor O’Malley’s veto threat shows he’s more interested in votes in Iowa than he is in protecting the Chesapeake Bay. We know from the response agribusiness has had to this bill, they don’t want to debate their role in polluting the Bay. The Governor is trying to help them cut off that debate.
“In announcing his intent to veto the bill, O’Malley stated that he doesn’t subscribe to the “us vs. them” message that the tax would convey. However, during O’Malley’s seven years as Governor, he’s overseen the implementation of several taxes on Maryland’s citizens. Some of the taxes, like the PFSA, are designed to improve Bay water quality, including a doubling of the “flush tax” to $60 per year on households in the state for sewage and septic use and a “rain tax” on several counties and the City of Baltimore to help address runoff to the Bay. Obviously O’Malley is fine with the “us vs them” approach as long as the “them” are the working and middle class of Maryland who are footing the bill for Bay restoration and not his friends at Perdue.
“Gov. O’Malley’s press secretary Nina Smith stated that he was vetoing the bill to protect Maryland’s ‘number one industry. The false claim that agriculture is Maryland’s leading industry is used to fight off any reasonable effort to regulate the industry. A quick look at O’Malley’s own Department of Business & Economic Development website tells the real economic story of agriculture. In a list of industry contributors to the state’s Gross Domestic Product, agriculture ranks second to last at 0.2%, only above mining. And agriculture only ranks that high because its contributions are combined with those from forestry and fishing. On that same site, the agriculture industry doesn’t even show up on the list of highest employers in the state.
February 4, 2014
Senator Richard Madaleno (D-18) and Delegate Shane Robinson (D-39) introduced the Poultry Fair Share Act in the Senate and House respectively today. The legislation would hold Maryland’s big poultry companies, some of the biggest polluters of the Bay, partially accountable for their contribution to nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay by requiring them to pay their fair share towards the necessary costs of Bay restoration.
Over the past several decades, the water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed has declined as factory chicken farms on Maryland’s Eastern Shore produce a billion and a half pounds of waste a year in this historic watershed. Since these big companies refuse to take any responsibility for the waste from its 300 million chickens on the Eastern Shore, their contract growers are forced to dump excess manure on already saturated farm fields, where it ends up in the Bay and its tributaries. As a result of this irresponsible behavior, agriculture is the largest contributor of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment to the Bay watershed.
“A healthy Bay is important to Maryland’s economy, and all Marylanders benefit from making the Bay cleaner,” said Senator Richard Madaleno. “So, it’s important that all major polluters of the Bay pay their fair share, and this legislation ensures that one of the biggest sources of pollution begins to do just that.”
“Poultry companies are polluting with impunity while the public pays for the cleanup,” said Delegate Shane Robinson. “Poultry corporations need to pay their fair share by contributing to the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund. It’s important that we all do our part to save the bay.”
January 29, 2014
Media Statement: ““The State of the Union speech was predictable on trade, energy and food safety—that is to say, a huge disappointment. President Obama insists that he wants action to address income inequality, but the real beneficiaries of his economic and regulatory policies have been large corporations.”
January 28, 2014
On the Heels of Alarming New Information, Americans Against Fracking and Over 200 Groups Call on President Obama to Re-Open Investigations into Connection Between Fracking and Water Contamination in Parker County, Texas
“President Obama is in danger of leaving a toxic legacy if his administration doesn’t get its facts straight on fracking,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “The EPA needs to take responsibility for the mess caused by fracking, and once and for all, assess the risks of fracking to the public.”
January 22, 2014
Annapolis, MD—In a letter to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and his administration, 14 state and national groups requested that the governor reveal his timeline for making a decision on fracking. Pointing out that the governor’s fracking commission is scheduled to issue its final report in August and that O’Malley’s term is over in January 2015, the groups asked O’Malley to disclose if he plans to make a decision on fracking between August 2014 and January 2015.
Recent news that the oil and gas industry is also targeting the Taylorsville shale basin for gas development has added extra urgency to the decision. The basin sits underneath parts of Charles, St. Mary’s, Prince George’s, Calvert and Anne Arundel counties, and means that drilling would not be limited to just the western portions of the state.
“It is clear that the governor will have full authority to decide if fracking is coming to Maryland on August 1,” said Jorge Aguilar, the southern region director for Food & Water Watch. “We believe the ball will be in the governor’s court because the three studies he requested from his Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission are due by June and a final commission report is due on his desk by Aug 1.”
Press Release: About 200 concerned Californians gathered outside the Capitol building today to implore Governor Brown to mitigate the state’s drought by halting the water-intensive drilling technique called fracking (hydraulic fracturing), and other extreme oil extraction methods.
January 21, 2014
Press Release: Food & Water Watch has obtained an internal e-mail that reveals a plan by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to allow the poultry industry to set its own performance standards for pathogen reduction in chicken parts.