Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Dear CALPIRG supporter,

For the past 20 years, the run-off from the 25,000 farms located in the Central Valley has not been regulated. Waivers, created in 1982, exempted these farms from the California clean water laws because the State assumed that these farms would regulate themselves and that the run-off - which includes toxic pesticides and manure - would not harm the public.

This assumption has been proven dreadfully wrong. Now, over 500 miles of rivers and streams in the Central Valley have been declared unsafe for fishing, swimming and drinking by the U.S. EPA because of this toxic agricultural run-off.

Please take a moment to ask the Central Valley Water Board to regulate agricultural run-off and dairy pollution in California. Follow the link below to go to a web page where you can e-mail the Central Valley Water Board.


Agricultural pollution, including pesticide-laden irrigation waters and nitrate run-off, is the largest source of pollution for many of California's waterways. This water pollution extends well beyond our agricultural areas, however, threatening fish supplies and scarce drinking water stores for all Californians. For example, agricultural pesticides and manure-related pollutants, such as E. coli, pathogens, nitrates and salts, have been detected in drinking water sources for at least 46 California counties.

Incredibly, agricultural pollution - unlike every other source of water pollution in the state - has gone entirely unchecked, with farms and dairies enjoying a perpetual waiver from the requirements of the state and federal clean water laws. In 1999, the California legislature rightly decided to bring an end to these waivers, including those enjoyed by Central Valley farmers and dairymen, on January 1, 2003. Now that the deadline is looming, the Farm Bureau and other agribusiness interests are pressuring the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board to delay meaningful action that would reduce the amount of agricultural pollution dumped into our waters.

And the Regional Board is bending to agribusiness pressure. Instead of taking this historic opportunity to require agriculture to comply with the same clean water laws as everyone else, the Board has proposed yet another waiver - a weak measure that will ensure more of the same: unabated agricultural pollution, contaminated waterways, threatened fish and drinking water supplies.

Please take a moment to urge the Central Valley Board to implement an effective program to control agricultural and dairy pollution and assure compliance with water quality objectives for our waters. Follow the link below to go to a web page where you can e-mail the Central Valley Water Board.


Wendy Wendlandt
CALPIRG Associate Director