CAFO Regulations Die Over Impasses

CAFO Regulations Die Over Impasse on Setbacks
Muncie Star Press (4/30/2007)
By Rick Yencer

INDIANAPOLIS -- A stalemate killed regulations of confined and concentrated animal feeding operations Sunday at the Indiana Statehouse.

Senate Bill 431 did not get a final vote Sunday after setback requirements were stripped out of the bill in conference committee.

"The bill will die," said Rep. Phil Pflum, D-Milton, chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

Sen, Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield, chairman of the Senate Energy and Environmental Committee, said the Senate was fine with the bill, but House Democrats would not give it a chance.

Gard said setbacks were fine but should be decided by local officials and based on science like geology, water tables, soil types and other issues.

"The Democrat in the House really cares nothing about anything except that one-size-fits-all setbacks," Gard said, referring to Pflum.

Gard wanted to raise fees to help pay for more state inspectors to oversee growing animal farms, especially in East Central Indiana.

The conference report pointed out that state setbacks interfered with local control over land use. The bill also includes new training and education requirements for manure and fertilizer applicators, and new disclosure statements and increased fees for more inspections.

Rep. Tom Saunders, R-Lewisville, said lawmakers compromised from a two-mile to a one-mile setback, narrowing developments to schools and towns.

"(Phil) told (Beverly) that if there was no setback requirement, he was not going to do it," said Saunders.

Agribusiness also was a big opponent of the bill, Saunders said, while many ECI residents wanted setbacks.

Gard insisted that the real losers were "the people of Indiana."

During a hearing last week, environmental and farm groups criticized the bill that raised fees and did not include the setback requirement.

Sen. Allen Paul, R-Richmond, had wanted a moratorium on CFO construction, which also did not make it to the final version of the bill.
"This bill does not slow down CAFOs in any sense of the imagination," Paul said.

Julie Alexander, a farmer and retired school administrator from Delaware County, did not want to give up on CAFO regulations. She also attended the conference hearing last week.

"I am terribly disappointed that the one-mile setbacks were stripped out of the bill," said Alexander. "Schools, health facilities and municipalities need this protection."