October 4th, 2013 News

October 4th, 2013

IDEM’s CAFO regulations fall short, especially, in Steuben County.

Some may make the assumption that IDEM, the state agency in charge of regulating CAFOs, will make sure that an operation like the proposed 4,800 head swine CAFO is safe. But, anyone that attended the meeting with IDEM now knows their efforts fall short. They do not regulate the location of the CAFO, the location of manure spread fields, property values, public road conditions, disposal of dead animals, groundwater use, traffic or odors!

If you are familiar with the area where the proposed operation is to be located and the location of the manure spread fields, you know that they are located at elevations greater than Crooked Lake’s Third Basin, Pine Canyon Lake, and the Nature Conservancy’s wetlands. Several of these proposed manure spread fields slope down directly toward one or more of these lakes and wetlands. Now consider what is going to happen if manure is spread and an unexpected heavy rainfall occurs.

IDEM knows the topography of these fields. However, it is not in their power to regulate the locations. All that they can do is enforce a small setback between the edge of the water and where they spread the manure.

On flat ground and in perfect conditions a setback may very well be enough. But our weather is not under our control and accidents happen. The location of the proposed CAFO and the spread fields and the slope of the land leave absolutely no room for error or accidents.

One has to look no further than Union City, Ind., for an example of such an accident where heavy rains washed manure into the Little Mississinewa River. The DNR estimated between 10,000 and 20,000 fish were killed. Having such an operation here in Steuben County so close to our treasured lakes is just not worth the risk!

Since the original application was filed, some of the manure spread fields have changed. They have indicated that they no longer intend to spread manure on a couple of the potentially more risky fields. However, if they are approved, IDEM nor anyone else can prevent them from spreading on these original fields and others!

IDEM is not able to protect what we value most here in Steuben County. It is up to our residents and officials to prevent the destruction of our pristine lakes and quality of life! Concerned individuals can join Steuben Lakes Environmental Consortium (steubenlakesenvironmental.com) in protecting Steuben County’s lakes.

By Mark Roediger

This letter to the editor appeared in the Herald Republican on Thursday, October the 3rd.

Links to submit a letter to the editor:

-KPC News/Herald Republican

-Fort Wayne News-Sentinel

Links of Interest:

-Don't be fooled - this is just a pig farm with lipstick by Matthew Tully

-When are good intentions not enough? by Allen Lefevre

-Steuben Lakes Environmental Consortium (SLEC) Website

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