At least one group involved in the effort to create air quality rules for Iowa hog operations is happy today after action Monday by the Environmental Protection Commission. The E-P-C voted 5-3 to establish a limit of 30-parts-per billion for measuring hydrogen sulfide in the air around the facilities.

Barb Kalbach of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says it’s a start. She says most of them feel that 15-parts-per billion would’ve been ideal as laid out in the I-S-U/U-of-I study. But she says the standard approved by the E-P-C “is a good first step.” The legislature turned down the 15-parts-per billion standard and set a 70-parts-per billion standard that the governor later vetoed.

Kalbach hopes this standard will stick. She says there’s been a lot of staff time and salaries spent trying to draw a conclusion on both sides of the issue, and she says, “the legislature really kind of needs to get on the bandwagon and recognize there is a problem out there, and people are not asking for standards just to have something to do.”

Kalbach says it would be wrong to throw everything out and start over again. She says the E-P-C has worked very hard to come up with the right formula, and she says the legislature needs to support the university studies and the work of the D-N-R. Kalbach doesn’t think the standard will be a problem for most hog operations. She says she doesn’t think it will be hard for them to meet the standard. She says there might be a few days they exceed the standard, but she says the rules passed by the E-P-C allow for seven days exceeding the standard, and she says she doesn’t think it will be hard for them to meet that.