Gardeners love it but the California Greenies don't -- even though it is "natural"
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. joined environmental groups Friday to launch a campaign against huge dairies that they blame for polluted groundwater in the Central Valley. "Mega-dairies cannot just ignore the hormones, antibiotics, bacteria and toxins in their millions of gallons of manure waste at the expense of the health of California families," Kennedy, a longtime environmental advocate, said in a news release.
These dairies, some with thousands of cows, have edged out the smaller farmer, leading to a greater concentration of animals and more wet manure that pollutes area waterways, said environmental groups Baykeeper and the Sierra Club. "Of course, there are dairies that are putting a lot of money into complying with environmental laws. But they're an industry like any other. There are people who are going to get around rules if they can and in this case it is very harmful," said Carrie McNeil, director of a local chapter of Baykeeper.
The groups, backed by Kennedy, launched the campaign to raise awareness and push state officials to adopt stricter water standards, McNeil said. Kennedy has lead similar efforts against large poultry and hog farms on the East Coast. But Michael Marsh, of the Western United Dairymen, said dairy owners know that dumping water or waste off their grounds can mean jail time and fines in the millions of dollars, prompting most of them to comply. "Dairies have impact just like any other human activities. We try very hard to minimize that," he said.
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