NC State Legislature’s HB467 = Unhealthy Communities

We decry the NC State Legislature’s override of Governor Cooper’s decision to veto HB 467, which eliminates compensation for our partner communities beyond the fair market value or fair rental value of their homes in nuisance lawsuits against Big-Ag–even in existing lawsuits. 

Concentrated hog operations are not “farms”, as state Representative Jimmy Dixon would have the public to believe. They are multi-acre industries which house thousands of hogs with limited mobility, pump them with antibiotics, and channel their untreated waste into large open ponds. That waste is sprayed onto nearby fields, causing runoff into waterways, and contamination of nearby homes.

In Duplin County, for example, residents report their inability to do basic household activities like hanging laundry, tending gardens, opening windows, or hosting barbecues due to the threat of exposure to hog feces from the spray fields. Their water is contaminated.  Their health is deteriorated via respiratory ailments and infections. Their families are harassed and threatened by local facility operators. 

Rep. Dixon, who has received over $115K in campaign donations from the pork industry, is the perpetrator of “outright lies” about industrial hog operations.

We do agree with Rep. Dixon that our state needs to protect farmers. But most of the real farmers lost their small scale hog farms to industrial hog operations years ago. Some of the real farmers are on the plaintiffs’ side of these nuisance lawsuits.

The hog industry consistently demonstrates an unwillingness to protect them and other neighboring communities.

North Carolina’s future depends on healthy residents and a healthy environment, which requires equity in regulation and industry practices, as well as equity in the adjudication of private grievances against big industries. We will hold accountable any industry or agency that violates those mandates. We expect our laws to do so, too. 

-Don Cavellini, Chairman of the Board, NC Environmental Justice Network                                                                                        Co-Chair, Coalition Against Racism

 

 

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