A hearing is scheduled for this morning on a request by environmental advocates to toughen the state’s rules on the placement of large-scale livestock lots.
Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement say the Department of Natural Resources is urging the Environmental Protection Commission to deny the petition.
ICCI organizer Erica Blair says the DNR is flat-out rejecting their request. “They essentially have cherry-picked certain things in the petition and are using those items to justify denying it outright, which is not something that they necessarily need to do,” Blair says. “They could still take up the petition, they have that option. They can propose alternatives if they don’t agree with everything, but instead, they’ve just decided to kick the can down the road.”
The EPC will make the final decision on the so-called “master matrix” rules which govern the siting of livestock operations. Blair says, “The Department of Natural Resources has made a recommendation to the EPC and so they are going to be the ones that ultimately take a vote whether or not to move forward with our petition to strengthen the master matrix.” Many of the state’s residents want these rules tightened, according to Blair, and ICCI members will be weighing in at the EPC hearing.
“They need to take up this petition,” Blair says. “We really can’t afford to wait any longer with strengthening the master matrix. This is something that thousands of Iowans are calling for. The EPC really needs to stand with the people of Iowa, not the industry.” The EPC meets this morning at the Iowa state capitol starting at 10 a.m.
(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)