Donnelle Eller reported on the front page of Sunday’s Des Moines Register (“Iowa Great Lakes may be next hog-confinement battleground“) that, “Iowa Great Lakes, home to multimillion-dollar vacation homes and a playground for thousands of tourists each year, could become the next battleground over the construction of large animal-confinement operations.
“Dickinson County leaders have written to Iowa’s governor, state natural resources leaders and lawmakers, asking for a temporary moratorium on new animal-confinement operations. Leaders say a ‘proliferation of animal confinements’ — thousands of animals producing millions of gallons of manure — threatens the water quality of the state’s natural glacial lakes.
“Not only are West and East Okoboji and Spirit lakes important state natural resources, but they’re a key economic driver for the region, attracting $265 million in tourism spending, based on the most recent data available, and a significant workforce and business recruitment tool.”
The article noted that, “Lonnie Saunders, Dickinson’s assistant county attorney, said a moratorium would enable Iowa — its residents and leaders — to retool the state formula for determining appropriate sites. Changes to the master matrix could build in better protections for water quality and address concerns about odor, health and possible environmental impacts, he said.”
Ms. Eller pointed out that, “Large animal-confinement operations use complex ventilation systems to prevent animals and workers from exposure to ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, said Daniel Andersen, an associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering.
“‘By the time that air would make it to a neighbor, concentrations are very, very low,’ he said. ‘They’re at levels we would naturally encounter in our daily lives.’
“Johnson calls claims that livestock facilities can harm the health of neighbors ‘outright fear tactics.’ And Dickinson County’s public hearings on proposed facilities, which aren’t required by law, are designed to ‘rally a small segment of people.'”