Letter: Suggestions for a stronger master matrix

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are damaging our environment, including water quality, throughout Iowa. Over the last 15 years or so, efforts to strengthen the master matrix continue. The Iowa Environmental Commission recently held a public hearing on this matter. I understand its decision was to not take any responsibility, instead to kick the can to the legislature to make law changes. However, the process the Legislature must go through is complex and lengthy process and will need governor approval.

I submit the following. They are consistent with past recommendations. They are consistent with the resolutions 17 county supervisors passed that request local control plus stronger measures and enforcement.

1. Protect people from water and air pollution.

2. Increase distance requirements between residents and confinements.

3. Stronger requirements for odor and pollution control.

4. Enhance construction of retention and cleansing locations for removal of animal waste and excess products,

5. Lead efforts with lawmakers and governor to reassess matrix, making it of a higher measure.

6. Hold all sized units to the same standards, i.e., eliminate the 2,500-animal threshold.

Currently businesses will break a larger unit, e.g. from 10,000 in one facility to 2,499 at four facilities, to get past matrix measures. Even though adjacent to each other, our current matrix permits this as a way to play the profit game at our citizens’ expense.

Robert Bernard



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