The pollution from North Carolina’s 4,000 noxious open-pit hog waste lagoons disproportionately harms Black, Latinx, and Native American communities, and plans to turn hog waste into so-called “biogas” merely distract from the problem, joint reporting by Southerly and Scalawag Magazines reveals. North Carolina is the second-largest pork producer in the U.S. Sampson, Duplin, and Bladen counties, which have disproportionately large Black and Latinx populations, host more than 40% of the state’s hog farms. And approximately 42% of the residents in Robeson County, the fourth largest hog county in the state, are Native American.
Smithfield, the largest pork company in the state, wants to divert waste from 90% of its facilities into “biogas” pipelines in the next eight years, a goal that will require a $500 million+ investment from Dominion Energy to build large facilities and pipelines across the region. Civil rights groups have petitioned EPA for a review of the joint venture. “It’s very disturbing, because biogas is not a clean renewable energy by any means,” said Donna Chavis, senior climate campaigner with Friends of the Earth and citizen of the Lumbee Tribe. (Southerly Mag and Scalawag Magazine)