Thursday, February 28, 2013

Snow can't stop the Missouri Senate from evil--can we?

From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: It feels like a long time since the snow started, but it’s only been a week. We got our chores done, everyone settled with food and water, made our run to town for eggs (hens don’t lay eggs in bad weather, FYI if you’re getting hens) and got back in time for the snow to begin in earnest. Then the electricity went off for a day, 24 hours, and we really felt sorry for ourselves. No internet. No TV. No radio. After a day, I started calling neighbors and found out that being cut off is harder on some folks than others. We were generally OK, but one neighbor was having panic attacks at being alone. I tried to get him to go to the gas station and hang out, maybe he did. You know how it is when you get to a certain point and you can’t think what to do? He was at that point. My idea, to get out, seemed brilliant to him and he thanked me over and over. Another neighbor heard the timbers of his barn cracking at night when he was in bed and he was too worried to go out and look. Had the roof fallen completely in? Did it kill his livestock? He couldn’t bring himself to go out. After talking to a few folks, I felt really lucky. Our barn is OK and we have plenty of food in the cupboard and wood in the woodpile. Chilly, but lucky. Everything has been cancelled for the most part, but wouldn’t you know the legislature figured out a way to hold sessions and that old bugaboo, Senate Bill 41, “the polluters’ protection act” is making its way through the Missouri Senate again. We defeated it last year, but Senator Munzlinger, a Farm Bureau puppet, brought it up again. You’d think, as a Republican, that he’d know that his bill takes away constitutional rights of farmers and landowners to protect their property & property rights through the court system. In my neighborhood, the hog CAFO owner nearby does a great job of keeping his place clean and only mildly stinky but he didn’t do that until some of the neighbors threatened a lawsuit and settled out of court. Still, corporate lobbyists have once again convinced some legislators of the need to protect a very small minority of corporate industrial livestock operations at the expense of the property rights of the majority of family farms, rural landowners and other property owners. But, hey, this law wouldn’t affect only rural folks. Anyone living near an industrial facility—a landfill, chemical plant or even a sausage making plant—can be affected by runoff and bad air. SB 41clearly favors the “rights” of corporations over the rights of Missourians, our families and our communities. So, yeah, we’re back on the phone today. Tonight, the legislature goes home and enough snow has melted that I’ll get out tomorrow. A whole new world out there!

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