Misuse Of Law Could Be Toxic To Farmers

Misuse Of Law Could Be Toxic To Farmers



How would you like it​ if​ your home were suddenly declared a​ toxic waste site?

Sound like something out of​ Ripley's "Believe it​ or​ Not!"? Yet in​ today's topsy-turvy world,​ that is​ exactly what some people are proposing. if​ you have any land with horses,​ cattle,​ chickens or​ other livestock on​ it,​ you have reason to​ be concerned.

The proposal-being pushed by some of​ the​ nation's biggest environmental organizations-would bring all such farm and country property under the​ so-called Superfund law for cleaning up industrial waste sites.

How come? They argue that animal waste-manure-is a​ "hazardous substance" and therefore every property with animals on​ it​ should be labeled and treated just like industrial waste sites. the​ costs imposed on​ our farmers could be enormous. Thousands could be driven off their land. They are rightfully worried.

The ridiculous thing is​ that Congress never intended the​ 1980 Superfund law to​ apply to​ farmers-or to​ animal waste. it​ was meant to​ clean up industrial sites like Love Canal. But because farms were not specifically excluded,​ environmental groups are claiming the​ law applies to​ them,​ too. And farmers are already being sued.

As a​ result,​ the​ nation's major farming organizations have asked Congress to​ clarify-as a​ matter of​ urgency-that it​ never intended farms to​ be branded as​ Superfund toxic waste sites. All it​ would take is​ a​ simple amendment.

But again-believe it​ or​ not-environmental groups,​ trial lawyers and some state attorneys general have now mounted a​ campaign urging Congress NOT to​ clarify the​ law! They actually want it​ to​ remain confusing,​ so they can sue farmers and force them to​ settle. "If the​ activists succeed,​ farmers could face penalties of​ many millions of​ dollars and thousands of​ small farmers could be forced off their land,​" wrote columnist Steve Milloy,​ publisher of​ JunkScience.com.

"The domestic livestock industry would be driven from this country,​ the​ grain industry would be crippled,​ and farm families and communities would be devastated,​" warns Oklahoma Farm Bureau chief Steve Kouplen. Adds Missouri cattleman Mike John,​ president of​ the​ National Cattlemen's Beef Association,​ "If animal manure is​ legally declared a​ hazardous substance,​ virtually every farm or​ ranch in​ the​ United States could be written off as​ a​ Toxic Superfund site."

This is​ clearly not what Congress intended. the​ question now is​ whether members of​ Congress will be willing to​ stand up to​ the​ activists and lawyers who are urging them to​ do nothing to​ fix the​ problem.




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