Thursday, May 16, 2013

Another CAFO cover-up, and Casey Guernsey's amendment to SB 342

From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: Tomorrow is the last day of the legislative session here in Missouri and wouldn’t you know, even though the bad bills have mostly gone away, there’s one corporate flak, Representative Casey Guernsey, that hasn’t gotten the picture. Guernsey is a CAFO owner (Confined Animal Feeding Operation) in the smelly area that many of us call “baja Iowa.” With plenty of corn, immigrant labor and isolation, that area is perfect for corporate hog systems that don’t want the public to see them. Obviously, one of the problems of these CAFOs (many folks call them “pig shit factories”) is pig shit. So part of Guernsey’s bill would stop any county from passing manure application standards that are stricter than the current inadequate DNR/state standards, including setbacks from farms, homes and communities. The news tonight on all the TV stations is about another CAFO scandal in the state, this one in southwest Missouri (I guess we could call the area “upper Arkansas”) where a closed rendering plant buried 2,500 cow carcasses in a trench. Those are leaking into the groundwater and who knows what the results will be. Language in SB 342 would negatively impact the statute that gives County Commissions and County Health Boards the authority to pass local ordinances to rein in these CAFOs and protect the health of their citizens, farm families and rural communities. Representative Guernsey’s Anti-Local Control Amendment on SB 342: • Forces counties to hire a CAFO operator to administer any local health ordinance that affects CAFOs. • No current ordinances are grandfathered in, so all existing local ordinances passed by County Commissions and Health Boards will be null and void unless they comply with these mandates. • Stops County Health Boards from passing ANY health ordinances without getting the approval of the County Commission. This mandate would infringe on Local Control and the authority of local governments to respond to the needs of its citizens, and creates another level of detrimental unnecessary government bureaucracy.

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