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A group that formed to propose a major hog breeding facility in Cooper County near Clarksburg has added a new element to a heated local issue. Opponents of Cooper County CAFOs LLC (OCCC) on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Cooper County and three county commissioners in circuit court as the Department of Natural Resources considers Pipestone System's CAFO application.

OCCC formed as a group of rural locals opposed to CAFO proposed by Pipestone System, the sow management company affiliated with PVC Management II LLC.

The suit alleges the county violated the Sunshine Law, Missouri's open records law, by failing to provide advance notice of a meeting between county commissioners, agriculture industry representatives and employees of PVC Management II LLC, which included a tour of the proposed site of a Class IC swine concentrated animal feeding operation in Cooper County.

According to the lawsuit, in an effort to obtain information about the events leading up to the Feb. 9 meeting, the OCCC submitted a Sunshine Law request seeking access to emails and other documents maintained by the commissioners and the director of the Cooper County Health Board. In a letter dated March 29, the county clerk denied any obligation under the law to provide access to the requested documents.

The commission announced Feb. 9 that the county would not enact a health ordinance concerning CAFOs. The commissioners include Don Baragary, Charlie Melkersman and David Booker.

The hog-breeding operation would include a gestation building housing 4,704 sows, a farrowing building housing 1,080 sows and a gilt-development unit for 1,620 females weighing more than 55 pounds, and 324 nursery pigs. As an export-only operation, all manure will be spread on fields owned by area farmers.

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