The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission has sided with opponents of two proposed hog confinements in Dallas County. The Commission voted to deny applications to build confinements that would hold 7200 hogs each near Dawson, in northwest Dallas County.

Commission member Paul Johnson says the panel decided to oppose a recommendation made by the Department of Natural Resources staff to approve the proposal. "We need to go beyond just the strict legal requirements that we have in our rules," Johnson says. "Our job is to protect the waters of the state of Iowa and this is a step in doing that."

The commission heard from representatives from the Des Moines Water Works, who said runoff from the confinements could enter the Raccoon River and threaten the drinking water in Iowa’s largest city. Mike Blaser, the lawyer representing the man who wants to build the hog confinements, says there’s no proof that would happen. "They made a decision that’s not based on any evidence that’s in the record, so we’ll have to decide if we want to appeal that," the lawyer says. "…This was more about sending a message and I think that’s exactly what they intended to do."

The Commission did grant the go-ahead for a confinement operation in Floyd County near Charles City, despite opposition by the Floyd County Board of Supervisors.