The Bulletin—August 21, 2012
The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the U.S. South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the U.S. South.
- South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) and the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation reached a settlement on August 20 requiring SCE&G to remove 240,000 tons of toxic coal ash from wet-storage impoundments near the Wateree River. The company must move the coal ash into lined landfill storage away from the river or have it recycled by December 31, 2020. The legal victory, secured with help from the Southern Environmental Law Center, is a major step forward in the protection of the river system, and could set a precedent for the handling of other dangerous coal ash-storage facilities in the state.
- As we have reported in The Bulletin before, this summer's record-setting drought has wreaked havoc on farmers and ranchers across a broad swath of the United States. On Monday the United States Department of Agriculture announced that it would buy $170 million of pork, lamb, chicken, and catfish for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks and school lunch and breakfast programs. This announcment is welcome news for farmers and ranchers across the affected area whose livlihoods are seriously endangered by the dry weather. While the Midwest has been hit hardest by this year's drought, farmers and ranchers in the U.S. South (like the catfish farmer interviewed here) have also had to deal with rising feed costs and dry fields.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there have been 693 cases (26 deaths) of the West Nile virus disease in humans in 43 states so far this year. This number represents the highest total in late August since the CDC started tracking the disease in 1999. Over 80 percent of the cases have been reported from six states (Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and California) and almost half of all cases have been reported from Texas (as illustrated in this map). The severity of the outbreak in and around Dallas, Texas has prompted the city to declare a state of emergency and deploy pesticides across the metro region via aircraft for the first time since 1966, much to the chagrin of many residents worried about the potentially hazardous side effects of the chemicals.