Amid fraud allegations, bankrupt mega-dairy operator illustrates why a moratorium is necessary
Salem, OR – After Easterday Ranches’ and Easterday Farms’ sudden bankruptcy declarations, the Stand Up to Factory Farms coalition has sent a letter urging the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality to use their authority to deny Easterday Farms Dairy’s application to operate a nearly 30,000 cow mega-dairy in Boardman.
“We know from experience that ODA and DEQ are likely to claim they don’t have the authority to deny Easterday’s permit,” said Tarah Heinzen, Food & Water Watch Legal Director. “Recent events underscore that this is just not true. They can deny a permit to any applicant who hasn’t disclosed all relevant facts or who has misrepresented any facts in their application. Easterday Ranches’ and Easterday Farms’ significant financial distress surely qualifies.”
With the Easterdays embroiled in a multimillion dollar lawsuit and with an estimated $15 million required to bring the former Lost Valley site into environmental compliance, the agencies also have the prerogative to question the Easterdays’ ability to meet the permit’s fiscal requirements.
“Mega-dairies generate stunning amounts of air and water pollution,” said Lauren Goldberg, Columbia Riverkeeper Legal and Program Director. “Governor Brown and state regulators need to tackle mega-dairies like the corporate polluters they are. That starts with two actions: deny the Easterday permit-to-pollute and pass a moratorium on new mega-dairies until laws are in place to protect people’s health and clean water.”
“Cattlegate only underscores the need for a mega-dairy moratorium,” Oregon Organizer with Food & Water Watch and Stand Up to Factory Farms Emma Newton said. “We’re dealing with an industry where egregious environmental violations and irresponsible management are much more common than Oregon officials have claimed. We must stop new mega-dairy permits now to protect our natural resources and frontline communities.”
Increasing demands for elected officials to take urgent action this legislative session are propelling two mega-dairy moratorium bills through the Oregon House and Senate. HB 2924 has been assigned to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee and SB 583 has been assigned to the Senate Energy and Environment committee.