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Iowa Sierra Club calls for hog confinement moratorium


After a new federal report found Iowa has 5,000 previously unreported livestock operations, the Iowa Chapter of the nonprofit national environmental group Sierra Club called for a moratorium on new hog confinements.

The proposed moratorium on new or expanded confinements would stay in place until:

·         The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has enough staff to perform annual inspections at all confinements and fields where manure is applied.

·         Water bodies near manure application areas are tested several times a year.

·         Water quality problems due to fertilizer runoff are addressed.

·         Air quality surrounding the confined animal feeding operations and manure application fields is adequately monitored and regulated.

·         Permits are required for all confinements, not just larger ones.

·         Regulations and enforcement are strong enough to deter violations.

·         Federal and state laws are strengthened to control pollution from confinements.

The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission recently declined to revise a state scoring system that guides but doesn’t decide where confinements are located. The Iowa Legislature has declined for years to consider a moratorium on confinements or legislation to strengthen local control of the operations, which have brought complaints of odors, fish kills and health threats from toxic air pollution.

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