Shielding factory farms from public scrutiny

From ag-gag to ag-shield:

A provision in the N.C. Farm Act of 2014 passed by the legislature last week will shield complaints made against farming operations from public view, effectively exempting them from state open records laws. This is wrong. We appreciate farmers and the food they provide for us. But, especially as large farming operations edge out small family farms, environmental protections are needed. And the public has a right to know how those protections are faring.

Supporters of the provision say it will deter frivolous complaints. But Justin Quinlivan, an investigator with the Yadkin Riverkeeper, told the Journal that the provision would protect the agriculture industry from scrutiny, leave the public in the dark, and decrease citizen complaints about violations that may threaten public health and safety. He voiced another concern: The provision would give investigating agencies unfettered discretion on whether complaints even should be investigated.

I'd like to see some stats on just how many "frivolous" complaints are actually filed. If a farm is polluting, but not as much as the person filing the complaint thinks it is, that is not "frivolous." And numerous investigations have shown these big operations inevitably pollute to a certain degree, even the ones who make a genuine effort to scale it down.

Comments

"Frivolous" complaints

Agree, would like to see data on those. Bet there aren't many. Bet that the ag-gaggers promised their big-ag benefactors that they'd shield them from public disclosure of illegal operations, then made up the "frivolous complaints" rationalization.

Kinda like voter fraud. Make up a problem, pretend to "solve" it while achieving your real objective, which is to help rich people. Many people will believe the story about the made-up problem!

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

That's what I was thinking

Just like the VoterID thing, and just like the allegedly "countless" complaints they received about DENR regulations and regulators, which gave them the cover to cut and slash, and leave us dangerously understaffed and misguided.

It's a strawman argument, but some of these folks actually believe in the creature, which is both sad and alarming.

Also have to consider

that the ag-gaggers consider a "frivolous" complaint to be "any complaint".

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis