NEW YEAR – NEW CAFO LEGISLATION MOVES FORWARD

Last year not one of the three CAFO-related bills made it out of the legislative session.  This year, maybe common sense and the reality of environmental and health issues intertwined with huge factory farms will prompt our legislators to do what they are supposed to do:  pass laws that protect citizens.

New legislation regulating CAFOs would require annual inspections and other tightened regulations under a bill given initial approval by a House committee.   The House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee last week voted along party lines, with seven Democrats endorsing it and five Republicans opposing it.

The current bill would affect Indiana’s roughly 2,200 confined feeding operations, of which 625 are large enough for a separate distinction of concentrated animal feeding operations. The sprawling farms with thousands of hogs, cattle, or chickens are often opposed by neighbors because of their odor and potential impact on property values and the environment.

Several GOP members had concerns about additional regulations on the industry possibly driving up food prices.  That argument is simply a red herring.  The increased meat production is to benefit up and coming economies such as China, whose middle-class population is growing at an astounding rate, and, with that growth, the desire to live on a meat-based diet. 

“This bill is very troubling,” said Rep. Eric Gutwein, R-Rensselaer who, along with others, wanted to wait until an agricultural regulatory task force established by Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman finalized its recommendations.  You bet they wanted to wait.  That would be like waiting for the fox to tell the chickens how to protect themselves. 

Daniels and Skillman came up with their “Possibilities Unbound” plan in 2005 which focused on increasing pork production while backing off regulations.  One of the goals of the Plan was to review regulations to make Indiana a more “business friendly” environment.  In other words, Daniels and Skillman wanted to reduce regulations as much as possible. 

Among other provisions, the bill would require farm operators to disclose “good character” information, including violations in other states or pending legal action. It allows the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to consider this information before granting a permit.  This session our legislators appear to be ready to step up and make some tough but necessary decisions to protect us from the health and environmental impact of CAFOs.

Photo Credit:  Wikipedia
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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Air Pollution, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, Confined Animal Feeding Operations, Economics, Environment, Farming, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Industrial farms, Mitch Daniels, Soil Pollution. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to NEW YEAR – NEW CAFO LEGISLATION MOVES FORWARD

  1. Ron Withers says:

    I am getting ready to do battle with my neighbor over the construction of his second hog factory. Unfortunately, he is Bill Friend, a Republican state representative. I know I have an uphill battle and would appreciate any advice on where to turn for help. Thanks.

    Ron Withers
    3048W 1500N
    Macy Indiana 46951
    (574) 382-2347

  2. Tom says:

    We had a CAFO built half a mile from us. What gets me is how irresponsible our government employees are and how the little man always gets the shaft. People emailed Becky Skillman about the expansion. She eventually came to this area, driving just half a mile past the people who emaild her (worried about damaged wells and property value) and went directly to the CAFO.

    When I went to show my presentation to one of the commissioners, she immediately and rudely cut me off. One of the BZA members said that he didn’t think that it would damage any wells. At this point of time a well had already been damaged.

    The figure that they gave for total water usage averaged out to only one ounce of water a day per cow (0.1% of what it actually was). Commissioners are always asking this question and should have had a good idea as to what it should have been. Yet they didn’t bat an eye and OK’d the expansion.

    Obiously, our governor, lt. governor, and commissioners support people who give bogus information. They definitely sold out our health and property value. I say put a CAFO in their back yards. Then we’ll see what they have to say about CAFOs!

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