Regarding the March 30 Business article “Bill would cap damages in lawsuits against hog farms”: Think of waking up in the morning and stepping outside to get a breath of fresh air, but instead get hit with the stench of hog waste. This is life in Duplin County, which is not just where I live, it is my home. Most of us have lived here our entire lives, our families have resided here for generations.
In the 1980s, big agribusinesses began to convert small neighboring farms into mega-industrial hog operations with massive cesspools of feces and urine. They still exist, and operators empty these cesspools by spraying the contents onto what are called spray fields, and waste sometimes runs off into adjacent creeks and streams. Now we live with not just polluted air, but contaminated watersheds too.
Things are so bad that the U.S. EPA expressed “grave concern” about what’s happening here. These factories should be held accountable when they cause us harm.
Why, now are General Assembly Republicans trying to help a Chinese-owned corporation take away our ability to hold these industrial operations accountable? In North Carolina, we are supposed to be better than that, we are supposed to look out for the health and well-being of residents and future generations.
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This bill (House Bill 467), which appears to be a bail out for a Chinese-owned corporation, is designed keep us from recovering from damages that we suffer at the hands of these hog operations. My fellow residents of Duplin and surrounding counties got up early recently to get on a bus to go to Raleigh to speak with legislators about this bill. Many of these individuals made the trip despite health considerations. We do this for our children and grandchildren, the future generations of Duplin and surrounding counties.
Executive Director, Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help in Duplin County
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the issue.