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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 September 29, 2010 - Fact Sheets: Fact Sheet: In many regions across the United States, rising water demand is straining available supplies. In theory, increasing water prices to drive down consumption appears to be a neat and easy solution, but it alone is no panacea for our country’s water management challenges. Communities need effective strategies to promote sustainable water use, encourage conservation and renew our valuable water infrastructure.
Published on September 29, 2010 - Reports: America’s rising water demand risks exhausting available supplies. Developing effective strategies is necessary to address scarcity, improve water efficiency and encourage conservation while strengthening U.S. water infrastructure. To tackle the tension between dwindling supplies and growing demand, many economists, market-oriented environmentalists and think tanks have advocated for market-based pricing of household water rates — essentially charging consumers more for water to encourage conservation. Most U.S. residential water rates are low, so raising these rates has a certain logical appeal. But this simple-sounding proposition is not so simple.
Published on September 26, 2010 - Issue Briefs: Throughout the United States, regional fisheries are being forced to comply with new regulations that are dramatically changing the fishing industry and the livelihoods of fishermen. These regulations have been pitched as a way to end overfishing, motivate resource stewardship, and increase productivity, profits and long-term stability for fishermen. These controversial management tools, officially called “catch shares“ or “individual fishing quotas” (IFQs), are similar in approach to the widely criticized cap-and-trade programs meant to resolve air pollution problems. “Catch-and-trade” systems are being heavily promoted by the federal government, despite much opposition and concern, as a way to better manage and monitor fisheries in the United States.
Published on September 23, 2010 - Issue Briefs: In 2009, bottled water sales in the United States declined for the second year in a row, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. U.S. bottled water revenues went down 5.2 percent and the volume of water sold went down 2.5 percent. Pepsi's Aquafina sales declined by 10 percent, Coca Cola’s Dasani went down by 7.9 percent, and Nestle Waters North America’s leading brand, Poland Spring, declined by 6.4 percent. This fall in sales may be bad news for the bottled water industry, but it is good news for the environment.
Published on September 22, 2010 - Fact Sheets: Basée à Paris, en France, Veolia Environnement est la première entreprise mondiale dans le secteur de l’eau et de traitement de l’eau usée, générant en 2009 un chiffre d’affaires de 50 milliard $ et un revenu d’exploitation de 2,9 milliard $. La société offre un service de distribution d’eau dans 66 pays et détient Veolia Water North America, le plus important fournisseur en eau aux Etats Unis, servant plus de 14 millions de personnes dans environ 650 communautés nord américaines.
Published on September 17, 2010 - Fact Sheets: In early 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it considered meat and milk from cloned animals to be safe to eat despite years of controversy and a long list of unresolved ethical, health and animal welfare concerns. In concert with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), regulators asked the livestock industry to continue a voluntary moratorium on allowing meat and milk from cloned animals into the food supply. As early as January 2008, the USDA identified potential concerns about clones entering “export channels,” saying, “industry will implement its livestock cloning supply chain management program which will establish protocols for tracking animal clones” — although this does not appear to yet be in place. Equally disconcerting, animal products derived from clones have no labeling requirements, depriving consumers of their right to choose or the ability to avoid cloned products if they are concerned about this technology.
Published on September 16, 2010 - Fact Sheets: New Jersey has a long history with water privatization — one marred with failure and disappointment. The state serves as headquarters for two of the largest water companies in the country: American Water, based in Voorhees, and United Water, based in Harrington Park. Perhaps partly because of this corporate presence, the state has adopted several laws that facilitate private takeovers of municipal water and sewer systems, and American Water considers New Jersey among the friendliest states for privatization.
Published on September 14, 2010 - Fact Sheets: Based in Paris, France, Veolia is the largest water and wastewater corporation in the world, raking in $48 billion in revenue and $3.6 billion in income in 2007. Veolia operates in 67 countries worldwide and is the parent company of Veolia Water North America, the largest contract operator in North America, serving more than 14 million people throughout the United States, the Virgin Islands, New Brunswick and Ontario.
Published on September 14, 2010 - Reports: The Food and Drug Administration is about to decide whether to unleash genetically engineered (GE) salmon into our food supply. This GE salmon, which is designed to grow twice as fast as normal salmon, would be the first “transgenic” animal allowed into the U.S. food supply. But given how hard the biotechnology industry is pushing genetic manipulation for the animals we eat, it’s likely not the last. According to the rhetoric of the salmon’s creator, a company called AquaBounty Technologies, this new fish is a technological solution for reducing fishing pressure on wild salmon, creating jobs and diminishing the carbon footprint of producing seafood. But a review of scientific literature tells a far different story, one full of downsides for the consumer, the environment and fishing economies throughout the world.
Published on September 08, 2010 - Fact Sheets: Do you know about the risks of farmed salmon? Learn more about human health implications, their effect on the marine ecosystem and your choices!
Published on September 08, 2010 - Fact Sheets: More than half of our global seafood supply comes from aquaculture, also known as fish farming. This practice requires large amounts of manufactured fish food to feed the captive fish. Fish food is often made with small wild fish that have been ground into a fishmeal or pressed into oil. Normally, fish farms produce fewer fish than the farm consumes (to feed the fish). The industry has faced intense criticism for inefficient use of small wild fish that are an important food source for larger fish, marine mammals and birds in the wild, and are often the primary protein in diets of smaller and lower income coastal communities worldwide. Because of this, and because fishmeal and oil have become increasingly costly, the industry is exploring alternative feed ingredients.
Published on August 12, 2010 - Issue Briefs: Over the past decade, an increasing share of the bottled water sold in the United States is coming from municipal water supplies. Categorized as “purified” by the bottled water industry, bottling companies purchase municipal tap water, put it through a filtration process, bottle it and then sell it back to consumers for hundreds to thousands of times the cost. Between 2000 and 2009, the share of water bottled with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) sold in retail stores sourced by tap water supplies increased by almost 50 percent. During that time, tap water went from making up a third of retail PET bottled water sold in retail stores (32.7 percent) to making up almost half (47.8 percent) of it.
Published on August 05, 2010 - Fact Sheets: California’s budget is in crisis; lawmakers are struggling to close a $19 billion deficit that threatens deep cuts to vital public services. But Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators want California voters to approve an $11.14 billion water bond, laden with special interest projects. Instead of focusing on sustainable long-term water supply and water quality practices, the bond would provide a massive subsidy to private interests and wasteful projects, including new dams and desalination.1 It’s the wrong approach for California’s water future.
Published on August 03, 2010 - Fact Sheets: The beef-packing industry is more powerful and consolidated now than it was a century ago when Congress enacted the Packers & Stockyards Act to break up the beef monopolies. Beef packing is the most concentrated industry in the meat and poultry sector. Meatpackers have merged into a few dominant players that slaughter and market almost all of the beef products in the United States. Today, just four firms slaughter more than four out of five beef cattle. This concentration gives large packers tremendous leverage over independent cattle producers. The beef-packing industry has also expanded beyond slaughter and processing and now large packers own their own cattle and operate feedlots, thus controlling supply through all stages of production. These practices enable the meatpackers to drive down cattle prices while keeping consumer beef prices high.
Published on July 30, 2010 - Fact Sheets: Calling itself the “voice of agriculture” and promoting itself as a tireless defender of farmers, the American Farm Bureau Federation has successfully positioned itself as one of the most powerful interest groups in the United States. A cursory look beyond its pro-farmer public relations campaign, however, reveals billions of dollars in assets, close alliances with the insurance industry, and legions of lobbyists — making it difficult to view the Farm Bureau in a different light from the powerful agribusiness corporations with which it regularly partners.
Published on July 26, 2010 - Fact Sheets: Formal recognition of the human right to water by the United Nations is a vital first step to ensure that all people have access to this most basic human need. Yet the United States government has historically opposed this movement. It is time for the administration of Barack Obama to take a stand for human rights and throw its support behind a U.N. resolution that codifies the human right to water.
Published on July 16, 2010 - Fact Sheets: The massive oil spill resulting from the blowout of BP’s Deepwater Horizon has been devastating not only to the marine, coastal and wetland habitats of the Gulf of Mexico, but also to one of the United States’ most productive fishing communities. As of July 2010, just over a third of federal waters in the Gulf have been closed to fishing, more than half of Louisiana state waters are closed, and access to shrimping areas is extremely limited. With decreasing amounts of seafood coming from the Gulf for an indefinite period of time, this disaster could have a large impact on the U.S. seafood supply.
Published on July 14, 2010 - Fact Sheets: After witnessing BP’s devastating Deepwater Horizon’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, some industry analysts are suggesting that domestic natural gas is a good onshore alternative. Even before the spill, some said natural gas could be a “game changer” if new technology allowed drillers to tap into shale rock formations on a large scale. But because the same technology poses threats to water, accelerating this natural gas drilling could be our next energy disaster.
Published on July 14, 2010 - Reports: After witnessing BP’s devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, some industry analysts are suggesting that domestic natural gas is a good onshore alternative. But the damage that a rapid expansion of the industry could do to America’s water could be our next energy disaster. Even before the oil spill, drillers had begun using a potentially harmful method for extracting natural gas known as “hydraulic fracturing”—“fracking” for short. Advances in this technology now allow drillers to extract gas on a large scale from previously hard-to-reach rock formations — specifically from shales and “tight” (denser, less porous) rocks. The energy industry, convinced of an impending shale gas revolution, has increased its investments in natural gas and begun advertising and lobbying to sell its product. Meanwhile, small towns near gas deposits are witnessing a mad rush to drill near their communities.
Published on July 01, 2010 - Reports: How to read your water quality report and choose the best filtration system for your home