Letter: Stop the new construction of CAFOs

Earlier this year several county boards of supervisors passed a resolution calling for a moratorium/suspension of new construction or expansion of confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) until the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa Legislature review the Master Matrix (scored application for CAFO construction permit). Literally scores of scientific studies worldwide have shown that: 1) 60-90 percent of nutrient pollution in our waters comes from agriculture, and 2) nitrate pollution contributes significantly to methemoglobinemia (blue baby), more people developing asthma, and more of our friends and neighbors becoming cancer victims.

What it says when any county supervisor, pork producer, or legislator thinks it’s OK to build even more CAFOs is that they don’t care if more babies die, more people develop asthma and more people become cancer victims. There are farming practices that can mitigate up to 90 percent of their nutrients from polluting our water and air. Producers say that will put them out of business. How can keeping the nutrients spread on their farm ground from escaping into public domain put them out of business?

If producers have enough funding to build a new structure, they have enough to put in mitigation practices. Current subsidies for CAFO construction need to be diverted toward mitigation practices instead. It doesn’t make any sense to continue to increase nutrient production until after all facilities and fields used to spread it have mitigation in place.

For everyone’s health, talk to your county supervisors, producers and legislators.

Susan West



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