To the editor,
Iowa Select is proposing to build another confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) facility in Liberty Township. At the meeting of the Mitchell County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, July 11, this hog confinement was approved. By law, the Board of Supervisors (BOS) has to approve any application that meets inadequate standards set by the state called the matrix.
Does the matrix protect the citizens of this county? I argue it does not. I call on the BOS to join the supervisors of Floyd, Winneshiek, Pocahontas, and Webster County who have passed resolutions and sent letters to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the governor, and their state representatives calling for a review of the matrix and tightening of the requirements for CAFOs.
When completed, this facility will contain a total of 7,498 animals producing 10,083,876 gallons of manure annually. Clean water will be used to wash animal wastes and contaminants from the buildings. In addition to plant nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, CAFO waste is likely to contain:
• Antibiotic-resistant bacteria
• Chemicals used in livestock care
• Cleaning agents
• Millions of gallons of water contaminated by all of the above
If this were human waste, it would have to be treated before it could be released into the environment.
When CAFO wastes are applied to farm fields, water pollution can occur. Tests have shown that waste applied to the surface of a field can take as little as 45 minutes to reach the field tiles three or four feet below the surface. Waste injected into the soil would travel even faster, especially if it rains after application. The engineering report for this site states that ground water can be as close as 3 or 4 feet from the surface, so it is highly likely some contaminants will make it into the ground water. Nitrates in drinking water can cause infant death and is linked to cancer.
Economic development should not come at the expense of the health and safety of the citizens. It is the job of the BOS to protect the quality of life for the residents of Mitchell County. The jobs Iowa Select is offering come at a terrible price: water contamination, air contamination, additional expenses for roads and bridges. I am calling on our Board of Supervisors to join the other counties in calling for a moratorium on new confinements and tightening the rules for permitting CAFOs in the future. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be asking us why we didn’t do more to protect Iowa’s ground water.
If you agree, let the supervisors know. Our supervisors are Shannon Paulus, Joel Voaklander, and Stan Walk. You can contact them at the courthouse at 832-3942.
Penney Morse, Osage