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Moniteau County health board weighs CAFO regulation

Moniteau County health board weighs CAFO regulation

June 27th, 2019 by Liz Morales in News

In this April 18, 2018 photo, Susan Hodges speaks against the proposed Tipton East CAFO for reasons such as potential water contamination and the potential to over-draw from the water table upon which area residents rely. She spoke during the public comment period of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' meeting at Tipton Country Club.

Photo by Allen Fennewald /News Tribune.

The Moniteau County Health Board is considering a regulation to alleviate potential public health risks from concentrated animal feeding operations and trying to enact the regulation before a new state law goes into effect.

Senate Bill 391, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, and signed by Gov. Mike Parson on May 31, prohibits county commissions and county health departments from passing CAFO regulations that are stricter than any state regulations.

CAFO opponents argue the state has done little to regulate the potential health and water pollution problems created by those operations. The operations, they said, cause more than just a bad smell: They threaten water safety and lower property values.

CAFO opponents also allege the state repeatedly has diluted CAFO regulations over the past few years and the Missouri Clean Water Commission has been stacked with agricultural — not environmental — interests.

The existing CAFO nearest Moniteau County is on the Cooper/Moniteau county line, just outside of Tipton.

The proposed health board regulation would provide water protections such as establishing how close animal wastes can be applied to land near homes, streams and water wells. It would also require setback distances between CAFO facilities to lessen potential health problems that could be concentrated in one area. The proposed regulation would only apply to new facilities in the county; those established already would be "grandfathered" in, trustees said.

SB 391 will go into effect Aug. 28, removing the opportunity for health centers to pass the regulation, Moniteau County Health Board trustees were told. Critics said the new law will eliminate the county's ability to protect the public health from potential air and water pollution that would come from CAFOs.

In the meantime, the trustees are welcoming any views, comments and concerns from members of the public about the proposed county regulation. Comments may submitted by mail to 401 S. Francis St., California, MO, 65018 or by visiting moniteaucountyhealth.org/contact.

The deadline to submit comments is Friday.