- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Officials in northern Iowa have asked the state to reconsider its model for evaluating concentrated animal feeding operations.

Cerro Gordo County is the 11th entity to write to the governor and Legislature seeking changes to ensure concerns about the environment are being addressed, the Globe Gazette (https://bit.ly/2pBGdfk ) reported.

Iowa law governs the construction of hog confinements by using a scoring system. The operations are approved on a points-based system, and the state doesn’t allow for local control - even when county officials see potential health hazards.

County officials have raised concerns about the system for several years, but the Legislature hasn’t acted.

“I’m a big supporter of agriculture, but it’s time for the governor and state Legislature to take a look at this,” said Tim Latham, a Cerro Gordo County supervisor.

County supervisors say they’ve reached out to the Department of Natural Resources about matters including construction, impacts on drainage, road infrastructure, residential development and environmental concerns.

The department consistently has overruled local concerns and granted concentrated animal feeding operations permits because the applicant has met the state matrix requirements.

The Environmental Protection Commission Board denied Cerro Gordo County’s appeal to halt the building of a hog confinement facility near Ventura last year. The appeal came after the department approved a permit request that county officials had rejected.

County Supervisor Casey Callanan said solutions in government are best addressed by working with all involved parties.

“I hope to work with our state association, Legislature, and constituents to come up with a reasonable solution. I have been in contact with (Iowa House) Speaker Linda Upmeyer, who fully appreciates people’s concerns and is sympathetic to them.”

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Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/

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