CO2 Pipelines – More Corporate Profits From Another Fake Climate Solution

By: George Naylor, farmer from Churdan, IA, and board member of Family Farm Defenders

Forthcoming article in the Spring 2022 FFD Defenders newsletter

I’ve often said that climate change is not a hoax, but thinking that our state and federal governments will do what it takes to combat climate change—that’s a hoax. I don’t mean to sow pessimism that “we the people” can’t demand change, but I think recent events show that making the changes necessary is beyond the intensions of these governments. Right now, their intension is and has always been to clear the way for or subsidize the way for wealthy corporations to make more money, no matter what the cost.

The champions of free market “solutions” for agriculture are bellying up to the bar to get tax credits to stop climate change—or so they say. They are now climate converts proposing multibillion dollar pipelines for CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) to prevent CO2 escaping from ethanol and fertilizer plants and entering the atmosphere.

One such pipeline is the 1300 mile Navigator pipeline which will scar Iowa farmland, and store CO2 indefinitely deep below the state of Illinois. Another project is by Wolf Carbon Solutions, partnering with ADM, to run a carbon dioxide pipeline from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Clinton, Iowa, and then onto Decatur, Illinois. 

Notorious describes the other pipeline, the Midwest Carbon Express, which will scar Iowa Farmland to the tune of over 700 miles. The whole 2000 mile pipeline will be connecting ethanol plants in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska to deposit their CO2 a mile underground in North Dakota. I call it notorious because of its cozy relationship with people in power. Former Iowa governor and ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, serves the company as a senior policy advisor. The parent company, Summit Energy Solutions, has as general counsel none other than corporate lawyer, Jess Vilsack, son USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The CEO of parent company Summit Energy Solutions is Bruce Rastetter known for his large campaign contributions and being appointed to the Iowa Universities Board of Regents by Branstad.

Editor’s note:

For more on the public conflict of interest, see Tom Phillpot’s Mother Jones article: https://www.motherjones.com/food/2022/01/usda-secretary-vilsack-jess-vilsack-ethanol-pipeline-summit-carbon-solutions/ )

For more on the documented dangers of CO2 pipelines for rural communities, see Dan Zegart’s Huffington Post article: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/gassing-satartia-mississippi-co2-pipeline_n_60ddea9fe4b0ddef8b0ddc8f

Many farmers in Iowa object to the Iowa Utilities Board possibly ruling that these pipeline companies can use eminent domain despite the farmers’ not wanting the pipeline to cross their farm. There are bills in the legislature to prevent this. The boards of supervisors of twenty Iowa counties have sent letters telling the IUB that it should not issue eminent domain provisions.

Besides the tragedy of burying these potentially dangerous pipelines under farmland against the farmers’ wishes, there are many other concerns that argue against public policy that justifies their construction.

One of the stated goals is to make the ethanol created from around 40% of the nation’s corn crop more carbon neutral to supply states that mandate low carbon fuels. (Today’s more than 13 billion gallons of U.S. fuel ethanol replaces only 10% of gasoline usage, while the US exports approximately 1.3 billion gallons to 50 countries. See U.S. Energy Information Administration) The free marketeers thus depend on clean energy mandates in states like California.

Another outrage is the Internal Revenue Code 45Q spelling out the tax credits. These credits are explained in a posting by the prestigious BakerHostetler law firm: “For carbon capture equipment originally placed in service on or after Feb. 9, 2018, the Section 45Q credit increases yearly from (i) $34.81 per metric ton in 2021 up to $50 per metric ton in 2026 (adjusted for inflation afterward) for disposal in secure geological storage, and (ii) $22.68 per metric ton in 2021 up to $35 per metric ton in 2026 (adjusted for inflation afterward) for EOR, enhanced gas recovery or other qualified utilization.” In other words, the tax code subsidizes carbon sequestration and “enhanced oil and gas recovery” at the same time! Does that sound like Congress is taking limiting fossil fuel use seriously? Notice also that after 2026 the credit will be adjusted for inflation. That’s the parity principle, yet almost no member of Congress will even say a farm parity program is worth understanding.

Numerous bills in Congress intend to increase the tax credits for years to come. As reported in the February 5th Albuquerque Journal, a Princeton University study published in December, 2020, projects the need for a nationwide system of 65,000 miles by 2050, 13 times the number of miles in existence today. Even this massive system will only transport 15% of today’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are some of my thoughts: First of all, boiling the climate crisis down to just CO2 emissions is reductionist thinking—claiming a very complex question can be addressed by simple answers. The long standing assault on the environment involves many facets and indicts the common notion that multinational corporations can do whatever they want without any democratic process to hold them accountable. The farmers at various educational meetings have many, many questions about this pipeline crossing their farms, but who is available to give them honest answers?

Here are some important questions relevant to all our citizens: How much energy does it take to build such a pipeline? How much energy will it take to compress the gas? How much water will it take to cool the compressed gas into a liquid? How much energy will it take to ship ethanol all the way to California? Why does the CO2 really have to be pumped all the way to southern Illinois and North Dakota? (Some have conjectured the CO2 won’t be sequestered at all, but will be used to force more dirty crude oil out of depleted oil deposits.) If limiting CO2 emissions is the BIG GOAL how can it make sense that we allowed the Dakota Access pipeline to cross Iowa farmland to ship crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois and beyond?

Agribusiness has family farmers cornered. Because of their single minded drive for unlimited profit, we family farmers have become simply the raw material procurement arm of corporate manufactured food, livestock feeding operations, and ethanol plants.

This didn’t need to happen. We could have democratic farm policy solutions that make these corporations pay a fair price—a parity price—for our bounty. CAFOs and ethanol plants would be totally uneconomical with parity prices. Instead of producing more and more for less and less, this would make farmers prosperous and return farmer-owned livestock to family farms. Hay and pasture can sequester carbon with deep roots the natural way. A parity system will restore family farms, rural communities, and democracy!

Posted in Agrofuels, Climate Justice | Comments Off on CO2 Pipelines – More Corporate Profits From Another Fake Climate Solution

Helping Small Processors Won’t Work Unless We Break Up Big Meat

By Anthony Pahnke, Vice President, Family Farm Defenders

Originally Published by Civil Eats, Jan. 13th, 2022

The U.S. faced this same problem over a century ago….

As an organizer working with farm groups in Wisconsin, I have asked many poultry farmers about the conditions they’re working under. Sadly, no one will speak to me.

It’s not that I’m unfriendly. In fact, I regularly speak to dairy and vegetable farmers about their problems, and most producers are more than willing to talk about their challenges and share their experiences with me.

But poultry farmers display a unique type of fear. Not of me—but of their industry. Poultry farmers work on contract with larger companies and the contracts they sign require that they raise the birds provided by the company, to the specs it provides and in a set window. The poultry industry is so concentrated, that the lack of competing buyers allows agribusiness processors total control to dictate the price, the farm conditions, the building specifics, and the feed every farmer must use. And farmers often go deeply into debt to meet those requirements.

In this environment, farmers are scared, not just to speak to me, but to talk to anyone about how hard it is for them to get by. And yet, most feel they have no choice but to continue working for the small handful of companies that now control the industry.

Concentration in agriculture is—and has been—a problem in American agriculture for years. The documentary Food, Inc. famously featured several contract poultry farmers trapped under crippling debt and unable to change their practices for the better. In 2010, many former and current farmers testified at public hearings that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) held on the poultry industry. They spoke out about consolidation, vertical integration, and the debt they had taken on to stay in the business.

John Oliver also ran a powerful segment about the conditions back in 2015. And yet nothing significant has changed since then.

So, it was a promising development when, earlier this month, President Biden, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and representatives from a number of farm groups came together to announce a plan to “boost competition in the meat industry.”

At the core of the plan is the allocation of $1 billion to assist independent meat processors and ranchers to become more competitive within the larger industry. In Biden’s own words, “capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism, it’s exploitation.”

While it’s a good first move, not only in recognizing the problem, but also in dedicating resources to the matter, the truth is that it’s far from enough. In addition to supporting independent producers, the administration, and more specifically the USDA, must make a sincere attempt to improve the rules of the game. Or rather, to ensure that our agricultural markets ensure fair competition.

We know that our food and farm systems lack such dynamics.

A study out of the University of Missouri found that when four firms control more than 45 percent of any given sector of the economy, those entities with market share show a proclivity to engage in anti-competitive practices that hurt farmers, workers, and consumers. Such practices include price and wage fixing, as well as dictating conditions to buyers and sellers. Additionally, innovation declines as, with fewer and fewer actors involved in some market, competition is replaced by collusion.

According to the Open Markets Institute, over the last three decades, the four largest poultry processors went from holding 35 to 51 percent of total market share, while in beef processing, that figure went from 25 to 85 percent, and in hogs, it went from 33 to 66 percent. The dairy industry, as of 2017, saw its four largest cooperatives control over 53 percent of all unprocessed raw milk sales.

Biden isn’t proposing paying farmers directly—his $1 billion investment is to help create more processing facilities, which could improve competition by offering farmers and ranchers more options when it comes to processing and sell their livestock.

But $1 billion in new investments may turn out to be a drop in the bucket considering the larger scope of consolidation within the meat and dairy industries.

The last few U.S. Agricultural Censuses show these dynamics, as there were 1.2 million cattle ranchers in 1997, and now they number just over 880,000. This decline by about a third over a span of 15 years pales in comparison to what we see in dairy, when in 1997, there were more than 125,000 licensed herds and in 2017 just about 54,000.

Technological changes, from genetics to improvements in milking, play a partial role in how the number of farms around the country has decreased at the same time as consumers stay fed. Yet, there’s also the fact that consolidated supply chains are prone to price-fixing, which leads powerful actors to depress prices for farmers and pay for workers. This is why, according to the National Farmers Union, U.S. farmers receive just 14 cents of every food retail dollar.

There’s also the series of supply chain disruptions that the COVID-19 pandemic caused, which should make us rethink the wisdom of letting our food and farm system become so consolidated.

From workers at meatpacking companies who have to remain on the job and risk serious illness and death, to the exorbitant amounts of waste that came from processors unable to adapt to changes in consumption patterns, U.S. agriculture has shown itself as exploitative and irrational over the last two years.

As Attorney General Merrick Garland pointed out in his comments at the January 3 roundtable, “too many industries have become too consolidated,” partly because the DOJ has been chronically underfunded. Real attention to antitrust law enforcement helps us out in this regard, principally in potentially breaking up larger companies into smaller entities. Corporations also need to be monitored more closely to assure that worker rights are protected and that attempts to fix prices are thoroughly investigated.

Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-Minnesota) bill to reform the already existing Progressive-era Sherman, Clayton, and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Acts would help regulators to investigate and potentially punish corporations for anti-competitive practices—such as mergers, price fixing and rigging contracts—that hurt farmers, workers, and consumers.

Biden’s billion is a good first step. At the very least, it sends a signal that his administration is willing to look critically at markets and competition in agriculture.

Still, to really get at the root of our problems in the food and farm system, we need enforcement of our existing antitrust legislation and some actual legal reform that would affect the rules of the game. How are farmers supposed to organize for change, when they’re fearful of piping up, worried about the corporate power that could come crashing down on them, destroying their livelihood?

On these points, the administration should invest billions more to rebuild the depleted antitrust division of the DOJ, and staff up with more regulators and lawyers willing and ready to research, investigate, and potentially prosecute corporate actors that sacrifice the public good on the altar of profit. If they do, we can envision a day when poultry farmers—and everyone else who toils away to put food on our tables—can once again speak freely about the companies they work for.

Posted in Food Sovereignty | Comments Off on Helping Small Processors Won’t Work Unless We Break Up Big Meat

Save the Date! – Sun. Dec. 12th 3:00 pm (CDT) FFD Annual Mtg followed at 5:00 pm (CDT) 2021 John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize Ceremony!

FFD founder, John Kinsman

To accommodate as many folks as safely as possible, this year’s event will be a hybrid, both in-person and online.

The in-person version will be at the Branding Iron Roadhouse (32 S. Main St., Lime Ridge, WI)

The online virtual version will be held via GoToMeeting and Zoom – login details are at the end of this post!

Join us to learn about the successes of Family Farm Defenders over the last year, for a celebration of the legacy of John Kinsman, FFD’s founder, and to be inspired by the stories from our three 2021 Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty prize winners!

Jenny Hoople and Raul Casique-Montes with Bountiful Beloit (Beloit, WI)

Tacumba Turner with Oasis Farm and Fishery (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rachel “Nami” Kimura with Hinata Farms (Chicago, IL)

Jenny Hoople – Bountiful Beloit

Tacumba Turner – Oasis Farm & Fishery
Rachel “Nami” Kimura – Hinata Farms

Both events are free and open to all FFD members, as well as the general public (donations are also most welcome towards future John Kinsman prizes – any sponsor donating more than $100 will receive a complimentary FFD t-shirt!). To support this effort, you can mail a check to: FFD, P.O. Box 1772 Madison, WI 53701 Or you can make an online donation through Mighty Cause on this website. All donations to FFD are also tax-deductible.

Family Farm Defenders 2021 Annual Meeting
Sun, Dec 12th, 2021 3:00 PM (CST)

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/450740613

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (224) 501-3412

Access Code: 450-740-613

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts: https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/450740613


2021 John Kinsman Food Sovereignty Prize Award Ceremony

Sun. Dec 12th, 2021 5:00 PM Central Time
Join Zoom Meeting https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85426239758

Meeting ID: 854 2623 9758
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Thanks for Supporting & Celebrating Beginning Food Sovereignty Farmers this Holiday Season!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Save the Date! – Sun. Dec. 12th 3:00 pm (CDT) FFD Annual Mtg followed at 5:00 pm (CDT) 2021 John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize Ceremony!

For the Rights of Humans and Nature, Line 3 Fight Must Continue!

By: Anthony Pahnke, vice president of Family Farm Defenders, and assistant professor of international relations at San Francisco State University in San Francisco.

Originally published by the Cap Times (Madison, WI) on Aug. 28th, 2021

Right to Rice = Indigenous Food Sovereignty!

People who grow and harvest food know the many ways nature communicates. For instance, if you plant corn but no cobs appear, then there’s probably a lack of nitrogen in the soil. Likewise, when your tomato plants turn yellow and die, you may have a problem with water.

These conversations show how a continuous dialogue takes place between farmers, ranchers and gatherers, and the land, water and air that connect us together in the food system.

Such a recognition, in the most basic way, is part of the lawsuit filed by the White Earth Band of Ojibwe against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to halt Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 oil pipeline expansion. The expansion, which is underway and has been the focus of months of protests from Indigenous people and allies, would pump an estimated one million barrels of tar sands oil per day out of Alberta, Canada, through northern Minnesota to Superior for processing and export.

What makes the lawsuit worthy of our attention is that not only is the White Earth Band of Ojibwe a plaintiff, but so is Manoomin (otherwise known as wild rice). This legal move is derived from the rights of nature doctrine, evoked around the world to protect lakes, rivers and other non-human actors in nature. Recognizing wild rice as a plaintiff gives it a legal space with which it can communicate with everyone to make its case.

And what does wild rice tell us? It reminds us of the many challenges that climate change poses. For example, wild rice is integral to the Ojibwe’s food system. It is also part of traditions that predate the Euro-American court system that has allowed the expansion of Line 3. Wild rice also expresses to us that it needs water to grow, live and flourish. That the Ojibwe have filed their lawsuit with wild rice is to remind us that people also need water.

Yet the Minnesota DNR issued a permit of questionable legality to increase to amount of water needed to construct the pipeline from 500 million gallons to 5 billion. This move threatens the water source for the rice and its human neighbors.

Wild rice has more to tell us.

We are being told yet again that producing fossil fuels contributes to an energy system driving extreme weather patterns. Droughts, floods and hurricanes are not new. What has changed is their frequency, which is connected to the burning of fossil fuels. Moreover, tar sands companies are looking to become ‘net zero’ carbon emitters by 2050. That may appear good, even a way to rein in certain companies. Yet the devil is in the details.

‘Zero net emission’ is tantamount to allowing a company to pollute in one area while promoting environmentally friendly practices in another. This would allow tar sands companies to continue to extract their product in the most wasteful ways in one area while at the same time, planting trees in some faraway place.

Such a problem is found in the recently passed Growing Climate Solutions Act, which made its way through the Senate in June. This legislation, even as it professes to deal with climate change, actually provides agribusiness and fossil fuel companies leeway to dictate the direction of environmental and agricultural policy.

In this way, wild rice forces us to acknowledge that it grows not all over the world, but only in certain places, one of which is in northern Minnesota. For this reason, the Ojibwe made wild rice harvesting central to treaties that the nation made with the U.S. government in the 19th century. In these documents, the U.S. agreed to allow the Ojibwe to harvest wild rice on ceded lands. This is why the expansion of Line 3 threatens treaty rights.

Wild rice also has lots to say to President Joe Biden.

In what seemed a stark contrast to former President Donald Trump, Biden was going to seriously deal with climate change. The president nixed the Keystone pipeline, which would have sent tar sands oil through the southern U.S.

But now what? End one pipeline to let another one operate? That doesn’t make sense.

Some may note that Line 3 is nearing completion, and, so, the fight has been lost. But the reality is that pipeline accidents are frequent, which even after their construction, spill oil into the environment. As much has been seen in the Dakota Access pipeline, which is found to have leaks upon completion.

Wild rice is trying to tell us that Line 3 must come to a halt. If its construction reaches completion, then no oil should pulse through it. And if it were to turn operational, then no other pipelines should be constructed or renovated.

The point is that not only does wild rice have lots to say, but that nature has rights. To claim this is to recognize and respect nature. The question is if we are ready to acknowledge nature and engage in real communication with it so that we work together for our mutual benefit

Posted in Food Sovereignty, Local Food, Treaty Rights | Comments Off on For the Rights of Humans and Nature, Line 3 Fight Must Continue!

F-35s, Toxic Sludge, and PFAS – Oh My! The Sorry Legacy of the Military Industrial Complex

F-35s, Toxic Sludge, and PFAS – Oh My! The Sorry Legacy of the Military Industrial Complex

By: John E. Peck, executive director, Family Farm Defenders

Version of this article will be appearing in the Summer 2021 FFD Defenders Newsletter

FFD joins anti F-35 rally in Madison

As I write this article, the “sound of freedom” (to paraphrase our former Republican WI Governor, Scott Walker) is roaring over my home as F-16 fighter jets practice their take-off maneuvers from the nearby Truax Air Base. None have crashed (yet) in my neighborhood, though one did go down killing the pilot in a remote area of the UP of Michigan just last Dec. I recall how when I arrived at UW-Madison for grad school back in the 1990s that Amish farmers had submitted an unprecedented petition to state elected officials, requesting the end of low level military flights (100-300’) in WI’s Driftless Region. The number of livestock miscarriages, buggy accidents, and cattle stampedes were almost too many to count. For a community built around pacifism, the ominous presence of such infernal war machines must be a constant spiritual challenge.

The latest proposal to base F-35 fighter jets in Madison and other communities across the U.S. has renewed the public debate over the utility of our military, as well as its legacy. As part of his 1961 farewell address at the height of the Cold War, Republican Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about the insidious influence of the military industrial complex. In another speech he lamented excessive military spending as a waste of scarce public resources – “the jet plane that roars overhead costs three quarters of a million dollars. That’s more than a man will make in his lifetime. What world can afford this kind of thing for long?” Half a century later, the F-35 has now become the most expensive weapon system ever developed – $1.7 trillion and growing, a final price tag per plane of $100 million. It costs twice as much ($40,000 per hour) to fly a F-35 compared to a F-16. Some branches of the military have already balked at this boondoggle and cancelled their Pentagon orders.

Retired Air Force Colonel, Rosanne Greco, who spent 30 years on active duty, is a prominent voice in Save Our Skies, the community organization opposing the F-35s being based in Burlington, VT. Her opposition to the plane is based upon its complicity in perpetuating a dangerously obsolete airborne nuclear triad (including the B2 and B52 bombers). Unlike a bomber, though, the F-35’s capacity for armageddon with its two 50 megaton bombs is in the hands of a single pilot. Given its stealth capacity, the F-35 is also designed for offensive capacity – for example, Israel recently used the F-35s it received from the U.S. to carpet bomb targets in Gaza as part of its ongoing deadly conflict with Palestine.

Of course, today the perceived enemies of the U.S. have changed and the supposed wars we wage have become even vaguer. Who is a terrorist – and how does one even defeat terrorism? Is that just the name the big army calls the little army (no doubt, the rebellious colonists at Bunker Hill would have been terrorists in the mind of King George III if he had that word in his vocabulary back in 1776…) Shouldn’t we consider global climate change to be a major threat to our national security? Little did our ancestors realize that the military itself could prove to be one of the greatest threats to humanity. As the largest single consumer of fossil fuel and producer of toxic waste in the U.S., the Pentagon has assumed a lot of responsibility for its existence.

The synthetic chemicals known as PFAS were originally created because of their amazing versatility and longevity (hence their nickname “forever chemicals”). But PFAS exposure is now known to cause many adverse effects – according to the EPA these include cancer, immune system disorders, low infant birth weights, and thyroid problems. PFAS derivatives are now found in the blood stream of 98% of all U.S. residents, with nearly 200 PFAS hot spots in 39 states threatening the drinking water of 110+ million people. Fort McCoy in WI is one such site, that is also responsible for contaminating nearby trout streams. The DNR ordered the Pentagon to deal with toxic PFAS runoff from Fort McCoy back in 2018, but nothing has happened. Decades of use of PFAS-laced flame retardants, hydraulic fluids, and other chemical compounds at Truax Air Base and an adjacent fire fighting training site, led to the recent shutdown of Madison’s well #15 – from which I’ve been drinking city water for years – now deemed unsafe for human consumption. Runoff from Truax has thoroughly contaminated Starkweather Creek, too, that flows into Lake Monona – and the DNR recently issued fish consumption warnings for the entire Yahara River Lake Chain. For many struggling residents who rely on fishing to supplement their family’s diet, PFAS has become an environmental justice issue. Same goes for the predominantly lower income neighborhoods with many people of color who live in the Truax flight corridor. These folks will suffer excessive noise levels, adverse health consequences (especially for children), and face the costly prospect of trying to relocate to quieter neighborhoods with much higher rents. A huge swath of my community has been declared a de-facto “military sacrifice zone.”

Unbeknownst to many, PFAS also threatens our nation’s food supply. For example, in March 2019 it was reported that a New Mexico dairy farmer, Art Shaap, had to start dumping 15,000 gallons of milk per day from his farm, and laid off 40 employees because his well water had become so tainted with PFAS from the nearby Cannon Air Force Base. His beef animals and irrigated crops were also too contaminated to sell on the open market. The Madison Metropolitan Sewage District (MMSD) peddles its biosolids as as a fertilizer, with an estimated 37 million gallons per year being applied on 5,000+ acres of WI cropland. This material contains PFAS residues, but the MMSD along with 125 other sewage districts across the state have refused to start testing such, despite an explicit request from the DNR to do so. Is ignorance bliss? One is reminded of the chilling 1995 book, Toxic Sludge is Good For You, by longtime FFD member, John Stauber, and Sheldon Rampton.

The former DNR chief under Republican WI Gov. Tommy Thompson, George Meyer, has noted that members of Congress often prefer to spend more money building a new aircraft carrier than earmarking military funds for cleaning up the Pentagon’s toxic legacy. This carefree notion of weapons programs being a sacred cash cow for luring federal taxpayer dollars back into one’s home district is bipartisan – with both WI senators, Tammy Baldwin (D) and Ron Johnson (D) being ardent F-35 supporters. Other boosters such as the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce are quick to cite the many jobs and the subsequent economic multiplier effects provided by having the Air National Guard Base at Truax – implying that without the F-35s the base will close. Opponents of the F-35 counter that the Air National National Guard could certainly pursue a more peaceful less toxic mission – such as being the Midwest hub for rapid airborne response to address climate change induced disasters such as historic floods, storms, and wild fires. And Madison could also serve as a national model for a fullscale clean-up operation. Unfortunately, mitigation of the existing PFAS contamination is not a prerequisite for basing F-35s at Truax. Their presence will simply add to the ticking toxic timebomb.

In his Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell astutely remarked “you see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market gardeners.” John Kinsman, the founder of Family Farm Defenders and reluctant WWII veteran (who passed away on MLKJ Day in 2012) was a lifetime peace and justice activist. When he urged the organization to join Farms Not Arms shortly after the outbreak of the Iraq War, I remember him saying that turning swords into plowshares was not enough. We needed to transform our entire economy and philosophy towards nonviolent conflict resolution. If we ever wish to achieve a just transition towards food sovereignty, then we will need to consign the reckless, toxic, and profligate F-35 to the dustbin of history. Think of all the actual good we could bring about in our world with $1.7 trillion dollars? A much better task would be to roll up our sleeves and restore planetary health and foster global friendship instead.

For more info on how you can join the grassroots anti-F-35 campaign in WI, visit:www.safeskiescleanwaterwi.org

For more info on PFAS and what you can do to demand phase-out and clean-up of these toxins, visit: www.cswab.org

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on F-35s, Toxic Sludge, and PFAS – Oh My! The Sorry Legacy of the Military Industrial Complex