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Waterkeeper News: Triumph hog plant rears its head again in East Moline
Posted By Staff On May 12, 2010 @ 12:00 am In Outdoors | No Comments
Editor’s note: On very, very short notice, Art Norris agreed to represent the counties of Henry and Rock Island at the April 16 Creating the Rock River Trail Conference, held at the Best Western Clock Tower Resort & Conference Center and CoCo Key Water Resort. Everyone working on the project offers our happy thanks, and welcomes him to a regular column in The Rock River Times. Mr. Norris actually takes a public stand, and undertakes public action to affect public policy on the environment, unlike too many comfortably hiding in the “Green Fashionista” safe zone, while they expect others to act. Please make the calls and e-mails he requests. The effort just takes an instant in a lifetime and Mother Nature needs you.
By Art Norris
Quad Cities Waterkeeper (QCW)
QCW has been watching the Gulf oil spill very closely. I heard the acronyms EIS and EIA mentioned a couple times. I concentrated on these statements because I had dealt with these before over the proposed Triumph Foods site. I will explain more about this later. But remember this, if BP had done an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), instead of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), there would have been more safety precautions in place that could have prevented all of this.
Triumph Foods was only required to get an EIA from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a very fragile, environmental area of the Rock River. We thought they had gone away because of the economy. Wrong. Help us!
May 5, the Quad Cites Online Dispatch-Argus posted “Lawmakers trying to get Triumph back on track in East Moline,” by Lindsay Hocker. (http://qconline.com/archives/qco/display.php?id=491562&-query=triumph#comments  Thank you, Lindsay—good reporting and great reader comments.
She pointed out that Rep. Phil Hare (D-Rock Island) acknowledges the U.S. Department of Commerce might give Economic Development Administration funding for the Triumph project. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Hare could get a Department of Agriculture Rural Development Business and Industry Loan Guarantee for Triumph as well.
For those elected officials and others, the economy trumps the environment. If you read the online comments above as an indicator, more locals (voters) oppose the hog plant than support it.
Which brings the QCW to “Triumph Foods still looking at East Moline” by the Quad Cities Times reporter, Kay Luna. (http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_cc922940-579f-11df-9609-001cc4c002e0.html )
The article points out the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is headed up by former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who might help with the USDA insuring part of a loan for the hog plant.
As the editor of The Rock River Times knows, many people have committed tremendous resources to fighting the Triumph plant, including Doug Riel, who traveled to Triumph’s Missouri plant “seven times and researched the many financial and environmental impacts” he believes the East Moline project could have on the Quad Cities and beyond.
The Quad City Times stated, “He said the plant’s negative impacts would ripple across Iowa and Illinois, and its massive pork production could put other companies out of business.
“The implications are much larger than just environmental,” Riel said. “The benefits to the area locally are not what they have been advertised to be,” Riel concluded.
That brings QCW to a Sept. 3, 2009, article by Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, posted on the Huffington Post site as “Pork Industry Bailout Request Full of Fat”:
Pacelle points out a “porking out” request: “The National Pork Producers Council wrote to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, asking for $250 million, and governors from nine large pork-producing states (Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Wisconsin) chimed in and requested a similar government bailout.”
Which brings the QCW to ask this question. Why would Mr. Vilsack ask for $250 million in taxpayers’ money to bail out the hog industry in nine states, just nine months ago? Then, he considers giving a guaranteed loan on the taxpayers’ backs again to expand a failing business? Then, take the fact Triumph Foods will be locating, should they get funding and permits, in a 100 year flood plain, on top of Illinois wetlands, next to the Rock River. Many residents then won’t be able to sell their properties or move. Young and old will be trapped there by this industrial nightmare. Potentially, 244 semis a day will visit this site; 1,600 hogs will be slaughtered a day at this site; 3.6 million gallons of water will be used at this site; 3.4 million gallons will be discharged into our rivers from this site.
Then, take the fact that just upstream a few miles from Triumph Foods will be Tyson Foods, who is allegedly dumping 3 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the Rock River yearly.
Please read Environment Illinois’ report, “Wasting our Waters: Toxic Industrial Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act.” (http://www.environmentillinois.org/reports/clean-water/clean-water-program-reports/wasting-our-waters-toxic-industrial-pollution-and-the-unfulfilled-promise-of-the-clean-water-act )
That report states: “Of the dozen waterways ranked highest in the nation for toxic discharges, four are in Illinois: The Ohio River ranked first in the nation with over 31 million pounds, the Mississippi ranked third with over 12.7 million pounds, and the Illinois and Rock Rivers ranked 11th and 12th, respectively.
“Tyson Fresh Meats released 3 million pounds of toxic chemical waste into the Rock River, a Mississippi tributary, in 2007, ranking it Illinois’ largest reported polluter of toxic chemicals in 2007—and the 12th largest nationally.”
Do they want to destroy the Rock River? Considering the Triumph plant site on the river, if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had required an Environmental Impact Statement, instead of the lesser Environmental Impact Assessment, Tyson Foods’ discharge into the Rock River would have been taken into consideration. We have the potential for a huge combined blowout here, in both the short and long term. Do we want a BP situation on the Rock River?
Read Time magazine’s “The Empire of the Pigs” by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele from 2001. (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101981130-140572,00.html .)
You’ll see what the real economics of a hog plant can be, and you’ll come face to face with the ugliness of Arizona-type immigrant labor politics and exploitation.
As Quad Cities Waterkeeper, I want to know where are these negotiations going on between Triumph Foods and Tom Vilsack? We the People have a right to know why Mr. Vilsack would even consider giving a business asking for millions in bailout money a guaranteed loan to expand new business. If the answer is to help the existing business, then please read the article below. Does this make any sense?
“Smithfield Foods Subsidiary John Morrell & Co. to Close Sioux City, IA Plant” posted: Jan. 20, 2010 at http://www.grainnet.com/articles/Smithfield_Foods_Subsidiary_John_Morrell-Co_to_Close_Sioux_City_IA_Plant-88540.html 
Why are we letting one hog plant close and giving a loan to open another? Are all of our hard-working tax dollars being properly managed? We have a right to know!
Please call or write Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at either http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&-contentid=bios_vilsack.xml ,
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.,
Washington, DC 20250 or (202) 720-2791
Also, don’t forget to call your congressmen and senators. Tell them QCW sent you. Especially don’t forget Rep. Phil Hare, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. A special “Thank you!” to The Rock River Times. You do Rock.
Contact Art Norris at http://quadcitieswaterkeeperuppermississippi.org/  or email@example.com
From the May 12-18, 2010 issue
Article printed from The Rock River Times: http://rockrivertimes.com
URL to article: http://rockrivertimes.com/2010/05/12/waterkeeper-news-triumph-hog-plant-rears-its-head-again-in-east-moline/
URLs in this post:
 http://qconline.com/archives/qco/display.php?id=491562&-query=triumph#comments: http://qconline.com/archives/qco/display.php?id=491562&-query=triumph#comments
 http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_cc922940-579f-11df-9609-001cc4c002e0.html: http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_cc922940-579f-11df-9609-001cc4c002e0.html
 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-pacelle/pork-industry-bailout-req_b_276983.html: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-pacelle/pork-industry-bailout-req_b_276983.html
 http://www.environmentillinois.org/reports/clean-water/clean-water-program-reports/wasting-our-waters-toxic-industrial-pollution-and-the-unfulfilled-promise-of-the-clean-water-act: http://www.environmentillinois.org/reports/clean-water/clean-water-program-reports/wasting-our-waters-toxic-industrial-pollution-and-the-unfulfilled-promise-of-the-clean-water-act
 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101981130-140572,00.html: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101981130-140572,00.html
 http://www.grainnet.com/articles/Smithfield_Foods_Subsidiary_John_Morrell-Co_to_Close_Sioux_City_IA_Plant-88540.html: http://www.grainnet.com/articles/Smithfield_Foods_Subsidiary_John_Morrell-Co_to_Close_Sioux_City_IA_Plant-88540.html
 http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&-contentid=bios_vilsack.xml: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&-contentid=bios_vilsack.xml
 http://quadcitieswaterkeeperuppermississippi.org/: http://quadcitieswaterkeeperuppermississippi.org/
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