Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra
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People usually relate environmental issues such as chemicals and other toxins associated with heavy industry. But there is one industry which surprises most people and that is the food industry. Four of the top ten polluters in the US are from the food manufacturing companies. Tyson Foods which is the chicken giant is number one. Tyson dumps 18 million pounds of toxic waste in our waterways each year.
The Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and other valuable watersheds across the country every year are contaminated with approximately 206 million pounds of toxic waste. Nearly 10% of this waste is dumped by food companies, such as Tyson Foods, which regularly releases heavy metals, such as mercury and arsenic, as well as toxic nitrates from its chicken processing plants into rivers and the groundwater.
There are other chief industries who are also heavy polluters, one such polluter is corporate food giant Cargill, which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in each state to defeat California and Oregon's ballot measure that would have mandated the labeling of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

Of the top 10 companies who release the most pounds of toxic chemicals, four are corporate agribusiness companies Tyson Inc., Cargill Inc., Perdue Farms Inc., and Pilgrim's Pride Corp. These corporate agribusiness facilities are responsible for approximately one-third of all direct discharges of nitrates into our waterways, which can cause health problems in infants, (blue babies) organ failure in the elderly and adults, and liver damage or death in domestic animal and wildlife as well and not to ignore how it has contributed to dead zones in our waters.
KFC and Mc Donald's purchase their chicken products from Tyson--- if you patronize these businesses you are most likely unknowingly supporting Tyson in the destruction of our waterways and environment.
Environment America is calling on the EPA to restore Clean Water Act protections that will preserve more than two million miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands across the country from being the current and future toxic dumping grounds for corporations. Polluting industries have gotten away with abusing the environment for financial gain, because of corporate greed and lax environmental over- site more than half of America's streams have become compromised with toxic pollution.

This issue is not far from home. Even though it does not include chicken plants it does include toxic contamination. In Columbia County we have a chemical plant which has been in the county since the early 1960's and has polluted our air with ammonia at times so bad it burnet your eyes, killed near by trees and contaminated our ground water with nitrates and nitrites. Well above the EPA's safe established levels. The PUD had to put in a reverse osmosis system in order to make their water potable because of the nitrate contamination. Nitrates and nitrites are water soluble and move easily through the soil into the waterways and have migrated off the site several miles.
Cows which ate the hay from the field's developed sores on their livers, deer and elk which were taken by hunters from the hills behind the plant had sores on their livers as well. This I know because our cows ate hay off the chemical plant fields, and the deer dad shot had sores on their livers. Our butcher took the livers to the state and had them tested. In the many years since I am glad that there were environmental laws enacted to at least force these companies to install some measures to stop some and I repeat some pollution problems. Unfortunately the contamination had already caused problems and since the source is always there--- there will always be contamination issues.
It is too bad that more people are not aware of the problem. The county knows of the nitrite , nitrate issue but fails to inform people who are drilling wells in the close proximity of the plant. In my opinion the county holds the responsibility to make the information available to people who are drilling wells after all it could be an important health issue.


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