« Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 today (and 0 NFP) | Main | Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit hearing appeal of Notre Dame ACA chellenge this morning [Updated] »

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Environment - "SB 186 would make it harder for local governments, state regulators and citizens to oppose giant CAFO operations such as the Steuben County site"

Updating this ILB post from Feb. 9, 2014, from an editorial today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

Steuben County residents opposed to a proposed 4,800-animal hog farm learned this month that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has given the go-ahead to the operation, which will be located less than three miles from one of the county’s 101 natural lakes. While Indiana’s lax environmental oversight offered little hope the permit would be denied, legislation moving through the General Assembly will make it even easier to operate a concentrated animal feeding operation.

Senate Bill 186, approved by 40-8 vote, would make it harder for local governments, state regulators and citizens to oppose giant CAFO operations such as the Steuben County site. The rights of ordinary citizens and property owners would become secondary to farm owners’ rights.

Keith Werner, the third-generation farmer who has proposed the Angola project, might well have met the state’s standards for establishing the pig farm. But what about the rights of longtime Steuben County residents concerned about the threat it might present to nearby lakes and to the air quality? What about the rights of business owners who depend on visitors to Steuben County lakes?

In the push to accommodate agricultural operations, the General Assembly needs to balance the interests of all Hoosiers in setting policy. Environmental problems are easier and less costly to avoid than they are to fix.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 12, 2014 10:22 AM
Posted to Environment