La Conner Weekly News - Your independent hometown award-winning newspaper

If I ran the zoo


Gun violence in the United States is exploding. Over 7500 people have been killed so far this year and it is only May. And that does not include unjustified police shootings which continue to rise.

That is something we are acutely aware of because it is getting a lot of coverage on television, radio and in our daily newspapers.

What has not gotten much coverage is the revelation that pollution from American farms is expanding exponentially. Most meat, milk and eggs produced in the United States come from animals raised in industrial factory farms – facilities that confine hundreds, thousands or even millions of animals.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are approximately 20,000 of these facilities throughout the country and many are geographically clustered in certain regions and communities.

Factory farms emit a large number of air pollutants which can cause headaches, nausea and increased risk of cancer and greenhouse gases (which cause a warming of the climate often referred to as climate change).

Factory farm emissions of two greenhouse gases – methane and nitrous oxide – are a significant driver of climate change. Nitrous oxide has more than 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide and methane has more than 20 times the potential.

Despite clear scientific evidence that industrial animal operations contribute significantly to nationwide air pollution that negatively affects human health and welfare, U.S. EPA currently does not require factory farms to meet any testing, performance, or emission standards under the Clean Air Act, which was enacted nearly 45 years ago. However, as the petitions make clear, the Clean Air Act has at least two programs that U.S. EPA could use to regulate factory farm air pollution.

I have been looking for a small farm for friends and family who want to move to Skagit and now I am going to have to give a lot of thought to whom their neighbors would be.

Sorry to be a Donnie Downer. I want to end on a positive note. The extraordinary Father William Treacy, who regularly contributes progressive columns to this newspaper, will turn 102 years old next week and you will be able to wish him happy birthday 12 p.m. Sunday May 30 at the Immaculate Conception Church in Arlington.


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