I recently learned that Oregon has more miles of polluted or “impaired” waterways than any other state. It has been over 50 years since I really understood that the earth has a finite amount of water, and that water can be polluted beyond repair.
This is not the Oregon that I think of when I envision our green and vibrant state — so full of the outdoor activities and beautiful nature that make our home so special. Luckily, we aren’t “beyond repair” yet — we have a chance to repair our water supply, starting with factory farms.
Water is essential for all life, and everyone deserves reliable access to clean water. Factory farming use — and pollute — more water than Oregon can afford. According to research from Food & Water Watch, Oregon’s 11 mega-dairies use over 8 million gallons of water daily, as much as a small city.
Factory farms also pollute our groundwater and rivers with manure runoff. Even now, some parts of the state are already struggling to provide a clean water supply to residents. Morrow County, home to Oregon’s largest mega-dairies, declared a state of emergency over groundwater contamination in June 2022.
Proposed chicken factory farms in the Willamette Valley threaten to contaminate the North Santiam River, habitat for endangered fish species, with ammonia.
Our state legislators have the responsibility to halt any new or expanding factory farms until proper laws can be put in place to protect Oregon’s environment. Senator Kathleen Taylor, support a factory farm moratorium.