Today's biggest threat to our water

When most people think of water pollution, they picture BP’s drilling rig gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, or old discharge pipes spewing chemicals or sewage into our rivers and streams. Research shows, however, that today one of the biggest threats to our water is how big corporations are running — and ruining — many of America’s farms. 

Factory farms crowd too many animals into one place with no place to put all their waste. Other corporate agribusinesses are spreading too much fertilizer and too many chemicals onto the land. And they’re taking too little care to keep all of this manure and other pollution out of our water.

The consequences include an enormous bloom of toxic algae in Lake Erie that contaminated the drinking water for 500,000 people in Toledo; 100,000 miles of American rivers and streams that are now too polluted for swimming, drinking, and/or other uses; and huge biological “dead zones” from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico in which no life can survive.

That's why we’re working to reveal America’s next top polluter: Because once people know the truth, they will demand change.

How heavy is the toll that corporate agribusiness imposes on our water?

  • Each year, factory farms produce millions of tons of manure  more than the sewage produced by the entire U.S. population. 
  • According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), agriculture is "one of the largest sources of pollution" for more than 100,000 miles of rivers and streams in the United States, along with 2,500 square miles of lakes and 2,900 square miles of estuaries. 
  • These waters are so polluted that they are unsafe for fishing, swimming, and/or wildlife. 

This agribusiness pollution is a leading cause of the dead zones that plague waters from the Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico.

Agribusiness pollution is so severe that it is beginning to threaten our drinking water as well:

  • In Ohio, runoff from agribusiness operations contributed to a toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie which contaminated the drinking water for 500,000 people around Toledo with cyanotoxins in 2014. 
  • In Iowa, nitrate pollution from agribusiness operations have so badly polluted the Raccoon River that Des Moines is now suing three counties for failing to stop contamination of its main drinking water source.

From manure runoff to direct dumping

Agribusiness pollution runs throughout the industry’s operations  from factory farm manure to fertilizer and pesticide runoff from fields to direct dumping from processing plants.

Factory farms concentrate so many animals in one location that the volume of manure is virtually impossible to keep out of the water.

By and large, the practices needed to curb this pollution are well known  including buffer zones, cover crops, reduced fertilizer use, and holding factory farms accountable for every pound of poop they generate. But these big companies won’t stop polluting unless the public demands it.

It's time to reveal the truth

Unfortunately, few people really know about how corporate agribusiness is polluting our waterways.

Before we can press corporate agribusinesses to change or our elected officials to force them to change, we need to educate the public — to get people to make the connection between megafarms and water pollution in the same way they do with big oil or big chemical companies or big pipelines or big sewage plants.

That’s why we need you help to reveal America’s next top polluter. 

 

Clean Water Updates

News Release | Environment Virginia

America’s clean air, water, health come in dead last in “America First” Budget

President Trump released his first proposed budget to Congress. Environment Virginia released the following response in reaction: “Congress should reject this budget. America’s clean air, water and our health come in dead last in this so-called 'America First' budget. This is not the future Virginia's families or the planet deserve.”

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Virginia

Environmental Groups File Clean Water Act Suit Vs. Pilgrim's Pride

Environment Virginia called on Pilgrim’s Pride to clean up its act, as its sister organization in Florida filed a lawsuit under Clean Water Act against the company for dumping pollution into a river there.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Virginia

Today, President Trump's Executive Order Turns Mission of EPA on its Head

Today, President Trump signed an executive order instructing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its defense of the clean water rule in federal court. "President Trump's order turns the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency on its head: Instead of protecting the drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans, he is telling the EPA to stop protecting these waters, like the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay, from polluters. It defies common sense, sound science and the will of Virginians."

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Virginia

2017 Program Agenda

Each year Environment Virginia sets program priorities. In addition to helping us measure our progress, the program agendas lets decision makers know which high priority environmental items our members wants us to tackle.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Virginia

Scott Pruitt won’t protect Virginia’s air, water or families

“Virginians and all Americans deserve an EPA administrator who will fight to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the planet we love. Scott Pruitt fails on all these accounts.” -- Elly Boehmer, Environment Virginia.

Washington, D.C. – Today the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is slated to vote on President Trump’s nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Environment Virginia's campaign organizer, Elly Boehmer, issued the following statement in response:

 

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed