Washington, D.C. – A West Virginia organic farmer recently experienced contamination on his land, which sits a quarter mile from the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline construction, when erosion-control pellets were dropped by helicopter on his certified organic farm without his permission or advance notice—pelting both him and his children. The farmer, Neal Laferriere, reports on his Facebook page that his organic certification could be ruined from the contamination, and that the company has refused to disclose the ingredients of the pellets because the information is proprietary.
In response, Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, released the following statement:
“This is the latest example of how fossil fuel infrastructure is slashing and burning our rural communities and endangering farmers’ futures. This organic farmer is going to take a serious financial hit due to something completely out of his control. Certification can be a long and laborious process for a farmer. Losing that certification will mean he’ll get less for his crops than he would have without this sneak attack from above.
“The fact that the company refuses to reveal what’s in the pellets is outrageous. Without disclosure, we have no way of determining the potential threats to the environment or water that they may cause. What are they trying to hide?
“Pipeline companies, with support of FERC, are legendary for subverting property rights in pursuit of profit. What happened to Laferriere is trespassing, plain and simple.
“We demand swift action from FERC and the EPA to assist this farmer in remediation of the farm and compensation for his losses. The industry must be held accountable for how they are impacting communities in the path of these dangerous pipelines.”
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
Contact: Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467; [email protected]