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Billions Go To Foreign Companies

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Environment Working Group today released startling new research showing that companies owned by foreign insurance companies are paid billions in tax dollars through the U.S. crop insurance program. Most of the testimony from farm groups in yesterday’s Senate farm bill hearing centered on the heavily subsidized crop insurance program.

As lawmakers look to pour savings from ending direct payments into already heavily subsidized insurance programs, they should ask hard questions about the $7.1 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds that went from 2007 to 2011 to 20 insurance companies with headquarters in Bermuda, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Canada and the U.S.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency made these payments for administrative and operating expenses for the federally subsidized crop insurance program.

The California Central Coast Regional Water Quality Board enacted new rules today requiring area farm operations to take strong measures to curb nitrate and pesticide pollution that contributes to some of the worst water quality conditions in the nation.

“The board showed tremendous leadership”, said EWG’s Kari Hamerschlag. “For far too long the residents of these affected areas have had to deal with contaminated drinking water as a result of lax pollution control standards for area agribusiness.”

The rules come two days after the release of a UC Davis study commissioned by the State Water Resources Control Board that found animal waste and fertilizer from farming operations in California’s Salinas Valley and Tulare Lake Basin are the source of 96 percent of the nitrate contamination in the area’s groundwater. The report found that 254,000 people in these areas “are currently at risk for nitrate contamination of their drinking water,” including 34,000 people who rely on private wells or local small water systems.

EWG Table Scraps:

The Monterey Herald, San Jose Mercury News and Santa Cruz Sentinel picked up a story on the UC-Davis study with a quote from EWG’s Kari Hamerschlag.

EWG’s Don Carr penned a blog on farm payments paid to lottery winners in Texas. It also ran in the Huffington Post.

The Lincoln Journal Star ran a Sunday piece on EWG’s City Slickers report and the farm subsidy recipients in the city of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Tweet of the day: ?@SebastianLatina Foreign Companies Paid Billions to Run U.S. Crop Insurance Program http://dlvr.it/1KT2LC

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