Permit Denied for Large Swine Feedlot in Minnesota

Jeremy Olson reported recently at the Minneapolis Star Tribune Online that, “Minnesota’s top environmental regulator has denied a permit for a large swine feedlot in southeastern Minnesota, citing concerns about the region’s already-troubled groundwater, though the decision has not quashed the project.

“Commissioner John Linc Stine, of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), said Tuesday he is denying Catalpa Ag’s request for a general permit for its 4,890-hog facility. But the company can still obtain a more rigorous individual permit if it takes additional steps to prevent leakage that would contaminate groundwater.

“Stine said he made the decision in the interests of the region, which is sensitive to water contamination because its porous, karst geology can allow surface contaminants to reach the groundwater ‘within a matter of minutes.'”

The article noted that, “Catalpa’s proposed facility wouldn’t be the largest feedlot in the state, but it drew unusual public interest, including hundreds of letters in opposition and two crowded hearings. Concerns ranged from the smell to traffic to the facility’s potential to exacerbate or increase the number of sinkholes in the soggy region.”

Mr. Olson also pointed out that, “Most of the state’s 1,300 feedlots are covered under general permits, but about 70 have received the more-rigorous individual permits, according to the MPCA.”

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