State environmental officials are rewriting rules for livestock operations that were struck down by Iowa Legislators earlier this year, and the revisions look a lot like what lawmakers rejected. Legislators killed the Department of Natural Resources’ air quality rules, saying the standard was too strict and would apply not only to livestock operators but to other Iowa businesses. Newly-drafted air quality rules would apply only to livestock operations — the buildings which house the livestock and the lagoons which store the manure. The Department’s Wayne Gieselman says D-N-R officials are sticking with their recommendation that fines and penalties be assessed when hydrogen sulfide in the air near a livestock confinement exceeds 15 parts per billion. Gieselman says hydrogen sulfide is what smells like rotten eggs. But the rules Legislators rejected dealt with ammonia, too. Gieselman says they’re leaving ammonia out of the rules this time around because there’s new, conflicting research on the health effects of ammonia. Livestock producers still argue the newly-drafted rule would be among the toughest in the country, and farmers will have to spend money to install filters and other equipment.Gieselman says in his opinion, this is a public health issue. Gieselman says if public health is threatened by hydrogen sulfide emissions from hog confinements, then something must be done. Gieselman says monitoring equipment already in place near livestock facilities is showing a few are pumping out more hydrogen sulfide than the rule would allow, but he says that could be easily corrected, in his opinion In November, the Environmental Protection Commission will consider the newly-drafted air quality rules for livestock operations. Yesterday, the Commission rejected tougher rules proposed and put forward by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, an anti-factory farm group.
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