by Kenneth Fine
HB 467 would protect hog farmers from lawsuits filed by their neighbors. It would shield agricultural operations—including hog farms—from myriad kinds of legal claims, and would cap the amount of damages property owners could collect at an estimated $7,000. Perhaps most controversially, the bill would have also applied to any lawsuit that was pending at the time it went into effect, essentially nullifying twenty-six federal lawsuits currently pending against Murphy-Brown, a subsidiary of the powerful Smithfield Foods corporation.2) Speaking of hog waste, the Neuse River is endangered because of it.
That's where things got held up. That last, controversial provision didn't make it past the House this evening, thanks in part to Guilford Republican John Blust. Citing concerns about the pending lawsuits, Blust proposed a last-minute amendment to make the bill "prospective"—meaning it would not affect the current lawsuits against Murphy-Brown.
On Tuesday morning, American Rivers listed the Neuse, along with the Cape Fear River, as the seventh most endangered river in the United States. In its report—“America’s Most Endangered Rivers 2017,” which highlights “ten rivers whose fate will be decided in the coming year”—the national river conservation organization blamed the millions of gallons of untreated hog feces and urine that North Carolina hog farmers spray onto fields that drain into streams and groundwater, which contaminate the Neuse with nitrogen, antibiotics, and bacteria, as well Hurricane Matthew-related flooding that spewed animal waste into the Neuse.3) President Trump plays a lot of golf.
After years of criticizing former President Barack Obama for playing golf and going on private getaways, President Trump has already done more of both in his first 81 days than Mr. Obama, as well as former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Mr. Trump played golf again this past weekend, on Saturday and Sunday.That's all for now. Have a good one, everybody.