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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Environment - "Wayne County might add manure rules"

Pam Tharp reports in the Richmond Palladium-Item:

Wayne County planning officials got a green light Monday to move forward with new county rules for smaller manure storage facilities. * * *

Residents and planning officials in Wayne and other adjoining counties heard firsthand from state and university experts on manure and fertilizer regulations and home rule opportunities.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management regulates manure storage that exceeds 5,000 cubic yards, but Indiana has no regulations governing smaller amounts, said Matt Pearson of the Indiana State Chemist Office.

“So home rule would allow regulation of lesser amounts, since the state is asleep?” Wayne County Commissioner Mary Anne Butters asked.

Some Indiana counties already have passed regulations on agricultural issues unregulated by the state, said Jennifer Thum, district support specialist at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. * * *

Last year, Wayne County residents presented a petition asking county commissioners to adopt rules governing manure storage facilities that weren’t controlled by state or federal rules. They asked for setbacks, a public hearing for each facility and soil testing to establish a baseline prior to the manure storage, Higinbotham said.

Neuman Lake Road resident Mahlon Whitaker said his knowledge about chicken manure increased after he learned a storage facility was to be built across the road from his house in southwestern Wayne County.

The manure is likely to come from Ohio’s Great Lake St. Mary area, which is exporting the fertilizer to protect its lake, he said.

“County officials were caught flatfooted on this,” Whitaker said. “Ohio is taking a dump on us. When you’re training farmers, can you tell them to think about their neighbors? I want to be farmer-friendly.”

Former state representative Phil Pflum said government intervention is needed because too many farmers have forgotten their neighbors.

“There are probably 3,000 people who live within a mile of the chicken manure storage,” Pflum said. “In my view, too much has been delegated to the state. Unfortunately, we have a lot of farmers today who are bad neighbors.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 26, 2014 10:35 AM
Posted to Environment