From Environment Virginia:
Richmond (November 23, 2010) – As EPA and the states finalize plans for cleaning up the Bay, Environment Virginia released a report examining the role of corporate agribusinesses across the country – including Perdue – in the pollution of America’s waterways like the Chesapeake Bay. Environment Virginia called for EPA and the states to ensure that companies like Perdue take full responsibility for the waste generated by their chickens.
In one of 8 national case studies, the report found that the 538 million chickens raised on the Delmarva peninsula – many of them owned by Perdue – generate 1.1 billion pounds of chicken litter every year. When chicken manure runs off into nearby waters, it contributes to the staggering dead zone plaguing the Bay.
“It’s time for Perdue – and other industrial producers – to take responsibility for the massive scale of waste that comes from their chickens,” said Sarah Driscoll, Environment Virginia State Associate. “We won’t have a clean Bay until they do.”
The Environment Virginia report comes as EPA makes final decisions on the Bay cleanup plan by the end of December. More than a dozen agribusiness industry groups, including the Virginia Agribusiness Council, joined in an October 15th letter opposing EPA’s plan to move forward with the TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) for the Bay.
Environment Virginia is calling on EPA and the states of the Bay watershed to make sure that Perdue and other agribusinesses use best management practices (BMPs) like cover crops to ensure that their chicken manure no longer pollutes the Bay.
The report also noted that Perdue is the third largest chicken producer in the nation, with $4.6 billion in annual sales.
As shown in the report, Perdue and its chickens are hardly alone. Across the country, as agribusiness has become more industrialized, it is creating an industrial scale of pollution for America’s waters. Across the country, agribusiness contributes to making 100,000 miles of rivers and 2,500 square miles of inland lakes too polluted to sustain important uses such as swimming, fishing, drinking, and wildlife habitat.
“Environment Virginia urges the EPA to start holding corporate agribusiness accountable,” concluded Driscoll. “And there’s no better place to start than with Perdue and the Chesapeake Bay.”
Environment Virginia is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization.
For the full report, go to http://www.environmentamerica….