Some livestock producers in northwest Iowa say the health effect standards set by the D-N-R for its hydrogen sulfide monitoring study are too restrictive. About one-hundred people attended last night’s public hearing in Spencer — and all were opposed to the standard of 15-parts-per-billion at homes, churches and schools near large animal feeding operations. D-N-R air quality specialist Bryan Button says the standards were recommended by researchers at the University of Iowa and Iowa State and are not necessarily the ones that will be included in the rules. Officials hope to determine if there are any adverse health effects on people living near large livestock operations. Comments from the public hearing were taped and will be evaluated by the Environmental Protection Commission when it crafts its air quality rules this summer. The first person to comment asked for a show of hands from people who truly believe the D-N-R is concerned about clean air—and no hands went up. Evan Vermeer of Sioux Center says the proposed rules would hurt the livestock industry and the state’s economy. Jim Boyer of Ringsted claimed there was no scientific basis for the 15-parts-per-billion standard and says the rules could force some operations out of business. Nearly everyone questioned why these health effect standards apply to livestock producers but not to other industries. Merlin Wagner of LeMars says his town, known as the ice cream capitol of the world, is polluting the clean air. Button said the legislature only provided funding to study the air quality at public use areas near livestock operations. One producer said he was more afraid of state lawmakers and their rules than the hydrogen sulfide. The meeting in Spencer was the first of five during the D-N-R’s public comment period. The next meeting is planned in Atlantic on February 25th.
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