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Requesting Emergency help in Eastern Shore of Virginia (DelMarVa Peninsula) from all you permies!  RSS feed

 
Chris Floyd
Posts: 16
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, United States, zone 7b
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I realize this is a somewhat time-constrained issue, and apologies are in order.
I am reaching out to all my permie followers and am pleading for any and all help in a dire situation that is being foisted upon us poor rural folks here in Accomac County of the Virginia Eastern Shore.
Being primarily a rural farming/fishing area in the mid-atlantic east coast of the United States, we are being attacked by big business/greed that will have serious long-term damage both to the Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore Peninsula.
Large-scale industrial chicken house operations now in ground-breaking mode, without proper planning and research, were being slipped under the public radar until thankfully a few observant citizens started spreading the word yesterday.
I am respectfully asking anyone here on permies.com for any help/research that might be available that can be used to present to our planning commission on the dangers of such operations.
I used to have an archived resource database that I was intending to rely on but thanks to my failure of  regular back-up and extra hard-drives, I now have to do a recovery that will not allow me to access what I need in time, if I can retrieve the data at all.
Tyson is attempting to expand their operations here with no apparent concern as to the fragile state of the shore.
Land, water, air, wildlife, and people are in serious danger here.
Industry of the worst kind being passed-off as good business practice and good economic development for the county.
Several of these operations are in the ground-breaking stages as I speak.
One such project, 24 massive enclosed chicken houses in process to be constructed before the first of 2017 sit directly above several creeks comprising part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Breaks my heart that this is labeled as "agriculture", when the first thing done is the stripping of the precious topsoil with heavy equipment, the building of massive fully-enclosed chicken houses in densities that rival condos in the city, and huge manure retaining ponds to hold all the quote "litter".
We were told the construction plans provisioned for 24 year flooding - hello!!!, this is a hurricane zone - why no provisions for hurricane/tropical storm flooding?
We were given out-dated information from 2009 on groundwater usage for these projects which experts claimed was not excessive when compared to usage demands from people or agriculture.
We only have two aquifers available for ground water, the shallow aquifer is already contaminated due to poor agricultural practices. The deepwater Yorktown aquifer is ancient and runs underneath the Chesapeake Bay which unfortunately due to the subsoil structure, leaves it prone to salt-water intrusion if not properly managed.
We already suffer poor water quality issues in the Chesapeake Bay due to run-off from poor agricultural practices and other pollution sources.
My property is down-stream from this planned project, bordered by a small creek that feeds directly into the Chesapeake Bay.
On a recent boat trip back in July into the bay, I first-hand was ably to sadly observe and collect samples of what a few of the bay water-men referred to as "dead tide", which we sent to Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
This was a huge dark-reddish brown streak of what resembled raw sewage effluent 100+ feet wide and best estimate 2-4 miles in length heading down the bay towards the Atlantic Ocean.
In all my entire adult life I have never seen such a dismal dead-zone totally devoid of life in a watershed that I grew up playing in that normally teems with life.
I am trying very hard not to freak-out over such careless dis-regard over the sanctity of life and worshiping of profit and money.
This is a truly sad legacy to leave to our offspring - sorry for the ramble but I pray that I may get resources from you all to fight this terrible injustice.
Thank you for listening and letting me bend your ears.
Chris
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I'll try to find some actual studies.  Here's an article:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-rumpler/tysons-pollution-pathways_b_10822108.html

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Chris Floyd
Posts: 16
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, United States, zone 7b
1
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Thanks for the help!
I had over a dozen tabs open in my web browser as my hair steadily fell-out while wading thru all the federal gov't. rules and regulations.
Was getting ready to try again at the state gov't. level when the wife walked-in the door, asked how everything was going, and I saw your posts with the links.
Looks like I have a long nite here at the desk.
Your kindness is much appreciated!
 
eric koperek
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TO:  CW (Chris) Floyd
FROM:  Eric Koperek = erickoperek@gmail.com
SUBJECT:  Confined Animal Feeding Operations = CAFO
DATE:  PM 4:52 Monday 12 September 2016
TEXT:

(1)  Get a good textbook on AGRICULTURAL LAW and RIPARIAN LAW and start reading.

(2)  Check and see if Virginia has a current "Right to Farm Law".  Many states have such statutes that restrict public rights to file "nuisance" suits against farmers (including CAFO operators).  Read the law carefully.  You need to be an informed consumer in order to discuss this subject intelligently with your attorney.

(3)  Test your well water IMMEDIATELY.  Do this twice yearly in summer and winter.  Retain reference samples and copies of all water quality reports.

(4)  Test your air for fecal bacterial counts at least twice yearly, preferably monthly.  Do this NOW so you have "baseline data" = historical records of air quality BEFORE chicken farm starts operating.

(5)  Right-To-Farm laws may restrict your ability to file "nuisance" suits, but they do not prevent you from filing suit for TRESPASS.  This is a well settled area of law that dates back to the Middle Ages.  For example:  If Farmer John's cows stomp your wheat you can sue for damages under the legal theory of Trespass.  The cows trespassed your property and caused damage.  Therefor, you can petition the Court for relief.  This is NOT a nuisance suit.  The key concept here is that something PHYSICAL must cross a property line and cause damage.  If you monitor your air and water quality NOW, you can set yourself up for a trespass suit later when the chicken CAFO opens.  If you do not have historical records of air and water quality you will not be able to prove CAUSE.  You must be able to show that something physical (pollution) crossed your property line and caused damage (or grave risk to health).

(6)  If you can get your neighbors to monitor their air and water also, you can map the spread of pollution as it taints each well and household.  Then you can track the pollution back to its source.  This is STRONG EVIDENCE for a civil suit.  Keep tract of respiratory infections and other breathing related illnesses.  Record and map every incidence of disease (just like an epidemiologist).  Fecal dust follows prevailing winds.  Folks downwind from a CAFO almost always have significant health problems (but you can't do anything about it without good medical records).

(7)  I read law for 5 years.  I know a little something about suing The-Forces-Of-Evil.  You can win a Trespass suit if you have good ammunition.  "He who has the mostest rocks wins".  Gather your stones now.

(  The legal theory of Trespass is a good tool = a big bat with which to bash bullies like Monsanto and other opponents who have more money and lawyers than you do.  For example, if Monsanto sues you for violating their GMO seed patent, you can counter sue for trespass:  "Their pollen crossed my property line and contaminated my organic canola crop".  Farmer John is responsible for controlling his cows.  If the bovines get loose, it is his fault.  Pollen is no different than cows.  If something physical crosses a property line and causes damage you can sue for trespass.  The Bully usually settles out of court (although you have to be patient as the process normally takes 2 years or longer).

(9)  Start shopping for an environmental lawyer now.  You are close enough to Washington, DC that you might be able to obtain counsel from one of the many ecological groups headquartered there.  Inquire at the Law School of the College of William & Mary.  Salisbury State University might be able to provide laboratory services, or contact your County health department for referrals to independent laboratories.

(10)  Save your pennies and prepare for a long struggle against a phalanx of enemy lawyers.  Environmental lawsuits are notoriously lengthy.  You are just starting the opening moves.  It will take YEARS to collect enough evidence to pin-the-tail on your particular donkey.  Smile sweetly and be persistent.  You need not win every battle in order to win the war.  You don't have to win any battles at all.  Just keep your army in the field and The Opposition will eventually quit.  Look to your own history for guidance:  The British marched around for 6 years before throwing in the towel.  The threat of endless (expensive) conflict is a very potent weapon.  Also note that suits are filed in court but they are most often won in newspapers.  Careful application of negative publicity is a good way to win a war.  No corporation likes bad press, especially damaging television reports.  "In your face" protests (block the construction vehicles) makes corporate boards nervous.  Monsanto was run out of Argentina in this way.  Public protests took 3 years but the company gave up.  Are you prepared to invest this kind of time?  Talk to your "significant other" before making such a momentous decision = declaring war.

(11)  Do you have a "Plan B" = "Get out of Dodge"?  Sometimes a prudent retreat is the best and least costly option.  Sell out and move upstream and upwind.  Nobody likes to "curl tail and run" but if you have children to protect you should consider this solution.  Or use it to your advantage.  If the Opposition is dumb enough to build a CAFO near a school then you can make them pay dearly for their stupidity.  Nothing terrorizes a corporate board more than angry mothers and crying children on television. 

(12)  I hope you find the above information useful.  Consider your options carefully.  Think deeply because you are embarking on a crusade against a monolithic enemy.  It is easy to become discouraged in these circumstances.  Do you have the will and endurance to persist?

ERIC KOPEREK = erickoperek@gmail.com

end comment
   

 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 707
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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I love the Eastern Shore. Capeville is my "home away from home". I'll be there several days next week (mostly between Wise Point and CBBT).

I feel your urgency in this matter. I've seen things change drastically there in the past 20 years. It isn't the small fishing/farming community I fell in love with. The land and water both have suffered. The massive croaker kill (1999?),they said was due to the red tide, I say they (big industry) caused it. The dead fish floating on the water stretched for miles.Polluting the water and raising the water temperature, that will kill fish in itself but it could have caused the algae overgrowth too.The natural ecosystem was shifted way off balance. The governor has recently given more fishing rights to the Deltaville menhaden trawlers too, who take much more than menhaden in their nets. Taking away so much of the larger fishes main food can certainly cause an imbalance and a kill off.

Did you attend the public hearing on Feb.3 in Parksley? Sounded like the Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore and the Virginia Eastern Shorekeepers were "making waves and ruffling some feathers". Be a loud voice yourself, to as many who will listen, but I'd join up with both of these groups, who (probably) have all the contacts you are searching for. I'm sure they need more soldiers and there's strength in numbers.

Red Green - "I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together."
 
Chris Floyd
Posts: 16
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, United States, zone 7b
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Thank you so much for this information Mr. Eric,
We so far only have a small group of less than 30 concerned citizens trying to put together an opposition against the county board of supervisors and planning commission who are being heavily wooed by one of the worst polluters in the Industrial Agribusiness, Tyson.
These suggestions are spot-on and much needed in our challenge to be faced here.
I am afraid you are 100% correct that this is going to be a very difficult and long uphill battle.
Virginia is a bit slow in keeping up-to-date in the protection of quality of life for its citizens, most of the laws and regulations are out-dated and under-enforced.
Now-a-days with the availability of instant access to information not readily available in my youth, the picture has become all too clear just how quickly our quality of life can deteriorate.
I was a bit disheartened to find out that the algae bloom Dave (a local) and myself ran into out on the bay, which we took two samples of, and he delivered to the VIMS local station here on the shore, seems to have raised no eyebrows whatsoever.
With both of us having spent a great deal of time out on the bay the majority of our lives, neither one of us could recall ever seeing anything similar, nor of this incredible magnitude ever before.
Even a bay-side beach closure this year over excessive bacteria levels near Cape Charles, Va. was under-reported, (no need to hurt our local tourism  ).
I have been over here on this side of the bay since 2001, and this was the first reported beach closure that I have heard about.
However, across the bay over in the southside tidewater area, it was and still remains an all too common yearly event.
In my youth when some of us got ill from playing in the dirty water, not knowing better, we just stayed home and it was never reported to the authorities, our parents just chalked it up to our just being children.
Back in Norfolk, the little tidal creek that I used to catch all the amazing creatures in (to show to my grandparents and parents) before releasing again, is now totally dead and so polluted that just splashing the water on your skin will make you ill (not to mention the horrible smell at low tide).
Unfortunately, I came over here to help my retired mother-in-law and take care of my wife's grandparent's farm which I have slowly transformed from round-up-ready gmo farming techniques to strictly 100% no-till, organic, permaculture-based methodology only.
And while still a work in progress, this has been purely a labor of love in which I had hopes of inspiring others to follow, in my journey to learn new methods and grow in my knowledge and understanding.
I have sunk all that I have into this venture, have fallen deeply in love with the soil and environment here, have been totally mesmerized with the abundance of wildlife, have no options available for running.
I am thankful that my children do not live here, just wanted desperately to show the grandchildren an old-school farm environment when they come to visit grampy.
Sorry for the ramble here, I just get so very sad when I see such rampant destruction of our planet on such a global scale.
Hopefully the assistance provided by you wonderful people will help us keep our faith and do some good at the same time.
I know your kindness will be returned back to you both many time over.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 707
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
69
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
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Interesting podcast on the subject...
click here


The panelists included:

Mark Brush, Associate Professor of Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science;

Jillian Fry of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health;

Carole Morrison, former Industrial Poultry grower, now small-scale farm grower;

Roger Everton and Neil Zahradka of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality;

Maria Payan, Consultant, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project

 
eric koperek
Posts: 100
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TO:  CW Floyd
FROM:  Eric Koperek = erickoperek@gmail.com
SUBJECT:  Cholera
DATE:  PM 7:34 Tuesday 13 September 2016
TEXT:

(1)  I hate to add another straw to your back but chicken manure is not the least of your worries.  There are medically significant numbers of cholera bacteria throughout the Chesapeake Bay estuary system.  Take appropriate precautions if your grandchildren are visiting.

(2)  I advise you to coordinate your anti-Confined Animal Feeding Operation efforts with JW Betit = jwbetit@gmail.com.  The two of you need some "face time".

Sursum Corda

ERIC KOPEREK = erickoperek@gmail.com

end comment

 
Chris Floyd
Posts: 16
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, United States, zone 7b
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eric koperek wrote:
(1)  I hate to add another straw to your back but chicken manure is not the least of your worries.  There are medically significant numbers of cholera bacteria throughout the Chesapeake Bay estuary system.  Take appropriate precautions if your grandchildren are visiting.

(2)  I advise you to coordinate your anti-Confined Animal Feeding Operation efforts with JW Betit = jwbetit@gmail.com.  The two of you need some "face time".

Sursum Corda



   I printed out your suggestions from your previous post about baseline water/air sampling and went over to talk to Joe (JW Betit) and his wife.
They are the couple down the road from me in Pungoteague who spearheaded the drive against the CAFO operations here on the shore.
I am extremely grateful to them for all the time and effort they have put into making everyone over here aware of the situation.
The Maryland portion of the Eastern Shore is also dealing this very same situation, would be of benefit to everyone concerned if there was a way we could all coordinate our efforts in a united front.
Hopefully with enough attention and support of other like-minded individuals, we can raise public awareness of the long-term effects of poor practices.
After spending most of the day researching Virginia's rules and regulations, and discovering that there is no active monitoring in place, and enforcement is only taken if prove-able violations occur, ones confidence in government is not boosted very much...
I was somewhat baffled with all the legal double-talk and in-effectiveness of what laws presently exist.
As to the bay water situation, experts are advising pet owners not to let their dogs play in any areas that looked suspect due to serious illness and possible death from toxic algae blooms.
Dogs are most at risk due to ingestion from grooming habits.
Now I need to also warn the farmer who is tending my two draft horses about possible health risks to his horses when he goes out on the Chesapeake Bay trail rides where they let the horses cool-off in the bay water.
Kind of frightening to learn that even though the water may appear clear, toxins could still exist - this was directly from the Virginia Dept. of Health website.
 
eric koperek
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TO:  Cw Floyd
FROM:  Eric Koperek = erickoperek@gmail.com
SUBJECT:  Watershed Associations
DATE:  PM 6:41 Thursday 15 September 2016
TEXT:

(1)  Your fight will be easier if you incorporate a landowners association = homeowners association.  Go (literally) door-to-door and sign up every property owner in the district = watershed.  Call it the "XYZ County Watershed Protection Association" so it is clear who and what you are representing.  Aim for a participation rate of 80% or more so you will have credibility when sitting across the table from "Snidely Whiplash" = Tyson.  Hundreds of landholders banded together is serious opposition even for big corporations like Tyson.  Acres are what counts.  Enroll as many acres as possible.  You want to show Tyson a map of "wagon train surrounded by hordes of hostile Indians" = the speck of blue (their acres) surrounded by a sea of red (your acres).  Sometimes the threat of UNITED OPPOSITION is enough to make corporations think twice.  Organizing a landholders association will certainly give you much needed negotiating strength.

(2)  Do a little historical research about recent local election results.  Most elections in the United States are decided by relatively small margins = 2 or 3%.  Organize a thousand landholders and you can "swing" an election.  The threat of a block of angry voters is useful ammunition when dealing with uncooperative county politicians. 

(3)  Don't be afraid to use any available weapon in a struggle of this nature.  Economic boycotts against uncooperative politicians (picket their businesses) are entirely within the rules.  Petition local religious leaders for assistance.  Call the Opposition out at Sunday Mass.  This is a centuries old practice in Europe, and highly effective.  Nobody wants to be scolded in front of the entire congregation.  Or denied Communion for antisocial behavior.  Or have their house picketed by angry neighbors.

(4)   Are you prepared to be very politely NASTY?  Tyson needs to know that they are going to get "no love" anywhere.  Somebody has to manage the chicken factory.  That person can be shunned (literally).  Peer pressure can win community wars faster than law suits.

ERIC KOPEREK = erickoperek@gmail.com

end comment

   
 
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