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I long ago stopped believing that most corporations and politicians had the good of the public in mind. We need independent groups like Food & Water Watch to raise awareness and advocate for ethical, environmentally positive laws.
Published on November 25, 2011 - Fact Sheets: Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," have enabled the oil and gas industry to extract natural gas from rock formations deep below ground, called shales. Fracking entails injecting a large amount of water, sand and toxic chemicals at a pressure high enough to fracture the shale and release the natural gas. The oil and gas industry now wants access to natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations underlying large regions of the State of New York.
Published on November 16, 2011 - Issue Briefs: The Gulf of Mexico is known for fishing — vacationers flock to the coasts to charter a boat for a day of recreational fishing or just to dine in restaurants serving up the commercial catch of the day. But behind the stories of landing a monster fish and melt-in-your-mouth grilled filets, a battle is being waged to determine if the Gulf’s fishermen and charter captains will remain an independent and integral part of southern coastal culture, or if they will instead lose their way of life in the rush to transform our fisheries into corporate-dominated markets.
Exposing the Oil and Gas Industry's False Jobs Promise for Shale Gas Development: How Actual Employment Data Show Minimal Job CreationPublished on November 15, 2011 - Issue Briefs: The oil and gas industry is aggressively promoting the expansion of shale gas drilling in the United States. Over the past decade, oil and gas companies have developed new fracking technologies to extract gas from shale, a previously unprofitable source, leading to a resource extraction rush referred to as the “natural gas revolution.” The Marcellus Shale is projected to become the largest source of gas produced in the country and has been a focal point of the industry. However, shale gas drilling blowouts and explosions, drinking water contamination, wastewater and drilling fluid spills and leaks, and local air pollution have caused environmental problems and led to growing public resistance to the practice across the country. In response, the oil and gas industry has promoted the supposed economic benefits and job creation potential of shale gas drilling for communities. Economic studies by industry, industry-funded academics and ideological think tanks claim that shale gas development will generate enormous economic benefits. One study claims that developing the Marcellus Shale alone could create more than a quarter of a million jobs in the coming decade.
Exposing the Oil and Gas Industry's False Jobs Promise for Shale Gas Development: How Methodological Flaws Grossly Exaggerate Jobs ProjectionsPublished on November 15, 2011 - Reports: The oil and gas industry, industry-funded academics and ideological think tanks have promoted shale gas development — through the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — as a sure-fire job creator during difficult economic times. Food & Water Watch closely examined a recent report touting the job-creation potential of shale gas development and found numerous inaccuracies and methodological flaws. Even after correcting for these problems, questions remain about the validity of using economic forecasting models to predict the economic impacts of expanded shale gas development.
Published on November 14, 2011 - Fact Sheets: In 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its latest attempt to create a national animal traceability program, despite close to a decade of widespread opposition from ranchers and $100 million allocated on a previous, failed attempt.
Meatpacker Concentration Harms Farmers, Workers and Consumers: Proposed USDA Livestock Rule Can Strengthen Rural EconomiesPublished on November 10, 2011 - Issue Briefs: Over the past few decades, the largest meatpacking and processing companies have consolidated their market power, driven smaller meatpackers out of the industry, pushed farmers out of business by offering lower prices for hogs and cattle and slowly but surely raised real prices for consumers. The dominant pork and beef packers have made it impossible for small businesses to survive, and this has contributed to the decline in the number of meatpacker and processor workers as well as to their falling real wages. Together, these losses have undercut a vital economic force in rural America: independent livestock operations and the small businesses and workers that process meat.
Published on November 03, 2011 - Fact Sheets: Gas drillers use a water-intensive process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract natural gas from shale. The process injects millions of gallons of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, under high pressure to crack the rock formation to release natural gas. Much of that water returns to the surface, along with water from underground, contaminated fracking fluids and other, possibly radioactive, substances. Private water players can make money on both ends by selling water to drillers and then treating the wastewater.
Published on October 31, 2011 - Fact Sheets: Savefarmfamilies.org, a website launched on September 15, 2011, was purportedly created to help Alan and Kristin Hudson, who own a poultry operation located near Maryland’s Eastern Shore, pay their mounting legal bills from a lawsuit filed by the environmental non-profit Waterkeeper Alliance and its local member program, Assateague Coastkeeper. It claims to be a grassroots effort to help save the “family farm,” including the Hudsons’, from radical environmental groups. Unfortunately, it attempts to do so by perpetuating many myths about industrial chicken operations in Maryland and the lawsuit itself. In fact, SaveFarmFamilies.org is an “astroturfing” effort — an industry-generated website used to spread misinformation while purporting to be by farmers, for farmers. This fact sheet is intended to debunk some of the many inaccuracies and misstatements promoted by the website.
Published on October 30, 2011 - Fact Sheets: Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a drilling process used by the oil and gas industry to extract natural gas that is locked away in tight rock formations and buried deep within the earth. The process injects large quantities of water mixed with sand and toxic chemicals under high pressure to break apart the rock and release the gas. Over the past decade, advances in fracking technologies have enabled the development of previously uneconomical sources of natural gas, so fracking has expanded rapidly. However, this expansion has faced increasing public resistance due to the resulting environmental pollution and public health problems. Frac sand is a type of industrial sand — which is often referred to as “silica sand” because of its high levels of silicon dioxide (SiO2). Frac sand is mined like other types of sand and gravel, which typically entails an open pit using standard mining equipment.
Published on October 20, 2011 - Fact Sheets: Residents across southeast Michigan must protect their water supply and fend off the looming threat of privatization. State lawmakers and officials have the ability to take away local decision-making powers and make it easier for private interests to control one of the largest water utilities in the country. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, water supplier for two in five people and sewage treatment provider for one in three people in the state, undoubtedly faces an uphill battle against dwindling sales and escalating needs, but privatization is not a viable option. It fails to address the system’s underlying problems and likely would only worsen Detroit’s water woes.
Illinois American Water and Aqua Illinois: Community Experiences with the Largest Investor Owned Water Utilities in IllinoisPublished on October 19, 2011 - Issue Briefs: How problematic is it for the public when it loses control of its water to a private corporation? Get the facts on the poor track records of Illinois American Water and Aqua Illinois and how they demonstrate that privatization is an unacceptable and irresponsible alternative to traditional public provision of water and sewer service. Many of the companies’ customers, both households and businesses, have reported paying too much for inadequate service. These consumer experiences underscore the importance of keeping w
Published on October 18, 2011 - Issue Briefs: In the public debate over government spending, the federal budget deficit and the U.S. Farm Bill, there has been increasing focus on proposals to reduce government subsidies to farmers growing corn, soybeans and other so-called commodity crops.
Published on October 18, 2011 - Reports: It is commonly argued that farm subsidies have led to the overproduction of commodity crops, such as corn, driving down the price of “junk food” made with commodity ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and partially hydrogenated soybean oil relative to healthier alternatives. This cycle, it is suggested, has led to increasing rates of obesity. Removing subsidies, the argument goes, would help combat obesity by discouraging overproduction of crops that are the base ingredients of unhealthy food. This seems like a logical argument, yet few if any of those making these arguments reference academic findings and economic analysis to support their claims. This white paper examines the public health and agricultural economics literature as well as primary and secondary agriculture policy documents. Based on this analysis, there is no evidence of a relationship between subsidies and the overproduction of commodity crops, or between subsidies and obesity. Instead, this paper finds that the deregulation of commodity markets – not subsidies – has had a significant impact on the price of commodities. Deregulation also has provided benefits and incentives to the food industry, including processors, marketers and retailers, and is one of a number of contributing factors impacting the availability of high-calorie processed foods in the marketplace.
Published on October 17, 2011 - Issue Briefs: When an essential resource from nature becomes privatized, access to it becomes market-driven, and decisions about how that resource is used are made by private interests that may lie thousands of miles beyond a community’s borders. Furthermore, when water or food is treated as a market commodity, it can become concentrated in the hands of a few powerful private interests. They can assert pressure on policymakers to achieve favorable rules for their shareholders—often to the detriment of consumers, producers and communities. The importance of keeping the global commons under public control is an issue at the heart of democracy.
Published on October 17, 2011 - Fact Sheets: Investor owned water utility companies are pushing unreasonable rate schemes on consumers across the country. These schemes involve special surcharges that automatically increase water bills without a full public review, so that private utility companies can more quickly make a return on certain water distribution projects and ensure their long-term profitability. The companies are essentially trying to boost their earnings and shed regulatory oversight that protects consumers.
Published on October 12, 2011 - Reports: Over the past decade, people have become increasingly conscious about the environmental, cultural and economic repercussions of their food choices, and a movement has emerged to support more diverse, sustainable options. This movement has extended to choices about seafood, as people take note of issues such as overfishing and the environmental ramifications of different types of fish farming.
Published on October 10, 2011 - Reports: Report (Europe): This report revisits the four U.S. taxpayer-supported factory fish farming experiments — in Hawaii, New Hampshire and Puerto Rico — that are described in Food & Water Watch’s previous reports, Seas of Doubt and the first edition of Fishy Farms. Because all of these research and demonstration projects have previously received government funding to advance the industry, we have traced the operations’ histories for lessons that can be drawn about the feasibility of ocean fish farming.
Published on September 30, 2011 - Fact Sheets: Offshore aquaculture is factory fish farming of the sea, growing fish in huge, often over-crowded cages out in ocean waters. It can be problematic for both the environment and the economy. The waste – fecal matter, uneaten food, and any chemicals or drugs used in the operation – flows directly into the ocean, and the result could be long-term damage to the seafloor. Despite its negative impacts, the following groups push for, or would profit from, factory fish farming in the United States and Europe.
Ganacias Privadas, Amenazas Públicas: Como La Agenda De La Gobernadora Martinez Protege A Las GrandePublished on September 27, 2011 - Fact Sheets: Desde el momento que llegó Susana Martinez a ser la gobernadora de Nuevo Mexico el primero de enero, 2011, ella ha trabajado desmantelar las protecciones al aire, la agua y tierra que benefician y que aprecian los Nuevo Mexicanos. La Gobernadora Martinez, entró con garbo con el apoyo conómico de las industrias de petróleo y gas, minería, súper-lechería y otras. Desafortunadamente ha demostrado poca moderación en concediendo los deseos de aquellos quienes quisieran revocarlas protecciones estatales cuales protegen al medio ambiente, también la seguridad y la salud pública.
Published on September 27, 2011 - Fact Sheets: From the moment Susana Martinez became New Mexico’s governor on January 1, 2011, she has worked to dismantle protections that benefit New Mexicans and the air, water and land they cherish. Unfortunately, Governor Martinez, who swept into office with the help of campaign donations from oil and gas, mining, mega-dairy and other big industries, has demonstrated little restraint granting the wishes of those who want to see the state’s environmental, safety and public health protections rolled back.