Ginny Botz-Taylor letter: Moratorium on hog factories good idea
Towner County (N.D.) commissioners are seeking outside legal counsel to issue a moratorium on factory-type hog operations. That is good news for our community. A moratorium will help correct our current zoning problems.
Towner County (N.D.) commissioners are seeking outside legal counsel to issue a moratorium on factory-type hog operations. That is good news for our community. A moratorium will help correct our current zoning problems. No one wants a 20,000 plus hog factory "one" mile away from your home, but that is exactly what is allowed in most of our townships today.
Ramsey County should be a good source to look to in adopting stronger ordinances, as well as seeking advice from Sue Leake, who has helped numerous townships and counties zone for concentrated animal feeding operations and waste locally. Michigan just adopted a CAFO general permit which is worth looking at. It includes periodic visual inspection, proper operation, and maintenance of all manure and wastewater storage structures, manure and wastewater handling equipment and all runoff management devices to prevent the discharge of pollutants to surface water and to groundwater. Requiring a cash bond to cover clean-up costs should be a key provision of zoning and permitting as well. Public input will be instrumental to our township/county boards in implementing such ordinances.
In looking at the waste application maps of the two permitted sites in Bethel and Coolin townships, we now understand why the state was keeping the manure application plan secret for "proprietary" reasons and why Elite Swine keeps a low profile and conveniently remains off any permits.
In my opinion there are some very real concerns with applying waste up to the Mauvais Coulee's edge. Even without heavy rains such as we had last summer, with approximately 13 inches falling in roughly a 24-hour period, we are openly inviting pollution of our surface and groundwater. "Hmmmmmmm," once again we wonder about the permitting process at the state and local levels. The problems need to be addressed. Changes need to be made.
As these issues are no respecters of county lines with very possible catastrophic effects on farming and tourism to our community, we urge our commissioners to take a stand now to issue that much needed moratorium.