New rules for monitoring the state’s large-scale livestock confinements have cleared a legislative committee and will go into effect October 22. The rules implement an agreement between the State of Iowa and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, so the state will continue to monitor how livestock operations in Iowa are complying with Clean Water standards.
State officials have promised to inspect some 8000 operations once every five years. Iowa Department of Natural Resources attorney Randy Clark said they’ll have to pick up the pace to meet that goal.
“As I recall in our annual report we were slightly less than the 20% in the first year, but we anticipate that in future years we’ll catch up,” Clark told legislators Tuesday.
Cherie Mortice, a member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, said there have been 55 manure spills in the past year in Iowa and only 11 operators have been fined.
“Because the DNR is satisfied with desktop inspections for the majority of operators as opposed to real onsite inspections, compliance is generally voluntary,” Mortice said.
Larry Ginter, a farmer from Rhodes, is among the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement members who complained to legislators yesterday.
“We’re not getting justice out here in the countryside,” Ginter said.
Legislators on the Administrative Rules Review Committee accused Ginter and others of engaging in “political theater.” The activists, in turn, accused state officials of adopting tepid regulation of “factory farms” that they say are polluting the state’s lakes and rivers with manure.