Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanks, Captain Obvious

Environmental groups are trying hard to shame the Bush Administration and the State of Delaware into forcing more ridiculous environmental regulations on our local poultry farms. The main crux of the pro-environment argument being made in the article, which can be found here, is that Delaware poultry farms produce much more ammonia than our state factories. The news release appears in today's News Journal, which apparently is now employing Ric Romero.

I'm not a biologist, but I do know that living things produce ammonia in the form of...er...um...waste products. And 246 million living things (the number of broilers produced by Delaware farms last year) probably produce a lot of waste. Anybody who's been stuck behind a chicken truck on some back road downstate can tell you that broilers are basically eating and pooping machines until the day that they're harvested. Sure, our factories might produce some ammonia, but I'll bet a lot of it comes from the living things (i.e., factory workers) inside.

I'm not insensitive to the pro-environment folks. I agree that we need to clean up after ourselves. But, hey, it the aughts, people! We have awesome technology that can be used to deal with the ammonia produced by our poultry farms. Instead of sitting up on our high horse shouting "shame shame!" maybe the federal and state governments should give these farmers the information and technical resources they need to install the equipment and initiate the processes needed to keep the peninsula safe from ammonia pollution. But not before they ask some really tough questions of some unbiased environmental scientists about what the real impact of all this ammonia is and our options for dealing with it effectively and efficiently. The last thing we need in these economic times is to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a problem that isn't as bad as we think or even doesn't really exist at all.

On the flip side, we're not talking about a whole heap of poor farmers here. A majority of the land used for poultry farming in Delaware is either owned or leased by the big two: Perdue and Mountaire Farms. These are huge corporation with enough money and people to solve this crisis without a lot of government cheese helping them along. So, it may not be bad to hold their feet to the fire, just as long as we can afford the consequences the next time we go to the grocery store.

Oh, never mind. Ban chickens. Broil me a tree-hugger! Hehe.

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