Iowa Petition to Tighten Livestock Facility Rules Fails

Donnelle Eller reported yesterday at The Des Moines Register Online that, “The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission denied a petition Monday that would have made it tougher for animal feeding operations to be built in Iowa.

Petition supporters sought to strengthen the state’s master matrix — a scoring system designed to give local residents input on proposed animal feeding operations — saying the changes would better protect people living near livestock facilities from odor and water pollution.

“But opponents said the petition would make it so difficult to get a passing score, it would result in a statewide moratorium on livestock facilities. That’s a controversial proposal for a state that’s a national leader in pig, egg, turkey and cattle production.”

The Register article noted that, “Environmental groups Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food & Water Watch filed the petition.

“It called for increased distance requirements between neighbors and hog confinements, cattle feedlots and other livestock facilities; greater credit for odor and pollution controls; and a higher overall score for construction approval, among other action.

“The Iowa Department of Natural Resources recommended against adopting the petition.”

Ms. Eller added that, “Ag groups opposed the petition, saying ‘wholesale substantive changes’ violate the Legislature’s mandate.

“The petition’s effect would be to ‘stop the growth of livestock farms — a result that the Legislature went to great lengths to avoid,’ associations representing Iowa cattle, pork, poultry and turkey producers and corn and soybean growers said in a joint letter to the commission.

“The meeting, held at the Capitol, overflowed with supporters and opponents of the petition’s proposed changes.”

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