The pollution farmers

We praise Valley farmers as innovators always finding ways to increase the bounty. But there are downsides. They abandoned sustainable farming to use nitrogen-based fertilizer. Nitrogen can contaminate groundwater. That can cause cancer and other serious health effects. 

So the state made a regulation requiring farmers to document how much nitrogen-based fertilizer they use. This does not sound like excessive regulation a la the kangaroo rat. This sounds like government doing its job to protect the public health.

Farmers are defying the law.

“There’s people saying, ‘I’m tired of this, and I don’t want the water board involved with my operation, and I’m going to chance it,’ ” a Merced County Farm Bureau told a Merced paper.

“I don’t want the water board involved with my operation” — a classic expression of Valley farmers’ overboard property rights fundamentalism. They see no connection to broader society. Farmers choosing to be willfully blind to the web of life. That’s so ironic.

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  • Blog Author

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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