By Associated Press - Thursday, June 19, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A West Branch farmer withdrew his application Thursday to build a nearly 2,500-head hog confinement facility along the Johnson-Cedar county line. He did not give a reason for his decision.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors said Ray Slach submitted a letter to the group minutes before a meeting that would have involved public input on the issue, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported ( ). The announcement drew applause from people who oppose the building’s construction.

Slach had applied to build a second confinement building on his farm, which would have brought the concentrated animal feeding operation’s capacity to more than 4,800 head of swine.

Slach could build the proposed facility further away from his current building and sidestep the permit process, according to supervisors. He has not indicated what he plans to do, and did not immediately return a message left Thursday.

Supervisors at Thursday’s meeting had planned to discuss the proposed facility and rate it against a scoring matrix. The state Department of Natural Resources would have the final decision on approving a construction permit.

Some residents and a nonprofit group say they’re concerned over the proposed project’s possible impact on air and water quality in the area. The newspaper reported that a long line of residents spoke in opposition to the operation during the meeting Thursday, despite the issue being off the table for now.


Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen,

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