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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

EPA Quashes Cattle Barons' Dreams of "Better Fishing Though Chemistry"

For the last few weeks, the patriotsphere has been awash with rage over the EPA's heavy-handed treatment of one of the Heartland's most cherished and Kochian beef moguls. It all began in late August when cattle baron Mike Callicrate told attendees of the 12th Annual R-CALF USA Convention that the EPA had initiated an enforcement action against his feedlot, declaring:
Now that EPA has declared hay a pollutant, every farmer and rancher that stores hay, or that leaves a broken hay bale in the field is potentially violating EPA rules and subject to an EPA enforcement action. How far are we going to let this agency go before we stand up and do something about it?
Modern-day minutemen responded immediately by taking up their keyboards to broadcast this travesty. "EPA Declares Hay a ‘Pollutant’ To Intimidate Ranchers," screamed Alex Jones' Infowars. " JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF AN OBAMA AGENCY RUN A MUCK. The EPA must be stripped of all funding..." blogger Jim Campbell declared in the all caps style so preferred by the Bachmannian blessed. And our most beloved of citizens, the courageous Freeper-American community responded by calling the EPA, "ecoterrorists," and demanding that EPA staffers be imprisoned and burned alive.

The threats of execution caught the EPA's attention and they responded with a press release:
The owner of the Callicrate Feeding Company has been spinning a “hay-as-pollutant” myth through the blogosphere for a couple of weeks now. While the company is certainly entitled to its own opinions about EPA, the company is not entitled to its own set of facts.

To be clear: The order had nothing to do with hay. At no place in the 11-page order is the word “hay” mentioned. Nor is there mention of alfalfa or grass.
So why did EPA file an administrative order against one of our nation's most revered cattle barons? EPA's press release has the answer:
EPA cited the Callicrate operation for failure to control harmful runoff, maintain adequate manure storage capacity, keep adequate operation records, and meet the state and federal requirements of its nutrient management plan. Compliance Order (PDF) (11 pp., 1.5MB, About PDF)

EPA inspectors observed silage, and dried distillers grains within the uncontrolled feedstock storage area.

When stored inappropriately, the silage and grains can turn into a liquid material that contains contaminants detrimental to water quality.
I can see why beef mogul Callicrate was confused. Both hay and silage are cattle feed. The former is dried grass, alfalfa, or timothy and the latter is chopped corn stalks and ears.

The fact that it's silage rather than hay makes the EPA's actions worse. Silage, or more accurately, silage leachate, the foul-smelling dark liquid that results from storing silage, is a product that cattle barons can use to diversify their operations.

Silage leachate's bio-chemical composition makes it a perfect tool for commercial fishing. Its capacity to rob water of life-giving oxygen is 150 times greater than human sewage--you only need a little to bring a lot of fish floating to the surface.

It's high acidity, corrosive enough to eat concrete and steel, jellifies the fish, allowing cattle baron fishermen to harvest gefilte fish and lutefisk directly from a stream--no processing necessary.

And hey, the high ammonia levels, well, who doesn't want their sinuses cleared while spooning up a big heap of fish jelly.

As for for nitrate levels high enough to turn your infant blue, well, cyan babies are great conversation pieces until God answers your prayers.

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.