WASHINGTON – By overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill shielding big hog farms from citizens’ lawsuits, 74 members of the North Carolina House of Representatives slashed the property rights and health of hundreds of thousands of citizens to protect the profits of a Chinese-owned pork conglomerate, said EWG president Ken Cook.
“Big Pork had a big day in the state house, as it snatched away the ability for residents to obtain fair compensation for damage to their homes and health from the animal waste of factory farms,” Cook said.
“With today’s vote, these House members have essentially given Smithfield Foods a license to dump animal waste on the property of the hundreds of thousands who live near a factory farm in the state. But state senators who value fairness and justice still have a chance to stand up for the rights of North Carolinans.”
The House voted 74-40 today to overturn Cooper’s veto of a bill that will sharply restrict compensation to property owners who file so-called nuisance suits against big hog farms or any other agricultural operation. If the state Senate follows suit, it will be the Republican-controlled legislature’s fifth straight override of a veto by the Democratic governor.
In a recent investigation, EWG used county tax assessor data to map the estimated 60,000 residential properties in the state within half a mile of a hog or poultry factory farm. But studies have documented health problems, reduced air quality and noxious odors at much farther distances, and EWG identified an estimated 270,000 residential properties – named here – within three miles of an industrial-scale hog farm.