Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commission adopted new rules Tuesday governing confined animal feeding operations or CAFO’s that are under one roof. Operators will now be required to have a permit and meet certain federal regulations for discharging manure into U.S. waterways.
Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement say the rules don’t go far enough to prevent runoff. They want more regulation as well as tougher fines and penalties. Iowa CCI member Cherie Mortice of Des Moines says runoff into the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers threatens municipal drinking water.
“CAFO’s contribute to this toxic witch’s brew because of the lack inspections, requiring permits and tough penalties. The factory farm industry continues to prove year after year that self-regulation and voluntary compliance of good manure management has been a colossal failure,” Mortice says.
Audubon hog farmer Randy Dreher offered a counter argument. “I wish really the people behind me who are chastising, condemning what we do, actually come to the farm, be there with a DNR on visit and talk about the things we talk about so they understand the things we do every day,” Dreher says. ” I think farmers are doing their job and agencies to oversee us are assisting in that process. “
The Iowa Legislature directed the commission to adopt the rules, which are a result of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency putting pressure on the state to better enforce the Clean Water Act.