Springfield, Greene County Officials Express Concern Over CAFO

Springfield and Greene County officials are showing concerned about the state’s regulations on Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) and the lack of local control that would prohibit stronger than state standards to apply in local counties and municipalities.

Both county and city officials both plan to pass measures that object to the state action and will likely work to make sure the wording between the city and county measure are similar in content and tone.

The usurping of local control and the prohibition of local officials from dealing with problems within their communities is a major focus of concern. A white paper from Greene County notes that “the apparent assumption that solutions to issues at the local level can only be addressed by the state.”

The county white paper also notes that the geological and environmental conditions within the state vary greatly and that state officials conducted “little to no statewide meetings with both farmers and residents for input.”

Greene County noted that in the 19 years since they installed their own CAFO regulations there has not been one appeal to the regulations and there have been no citation actions against CAFO operations within the county, indicating there was no need for the state government to impede on local authority on the matter.

“SB-391 has further usurped the ability of Missouri counties to work for solutions at the local level,” the County’s white paper reads. “It is evidence of further State encroachment on the ability to work with our citizens to achieve solutions for local issues at the local level. This is unacceptable and further stifles the enhancement of good government.”

The county also noted the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, who has been honored by the Department of Natural Resources and other organizations for their efforts working with citizens and farming communities on issues related to water quality.

The Springfield City Council is also looking at a resolution that would state a similar position to the county. A draft resolution currently being worked on by city staff that was proposed by Councilmen Lear and Schilling specifically mentions the lack of local control.

“WHEREAS taking public health protection out of the hands of local government may affect the safety of the watershed and the water supply of the City, thereby creating a potential for harm to the health of the City’s citizens and affecting the economic vitality of the City,” the draft reads. (Note: As a draft resolution, the wording could change before it’s officially proposed to Council.)

The commission did note the desire of the industry to have regulations across the state that are the same.

“I understand the industry’s desire to be uniform in regulations because we want to be uniform in regulations,” Commissioner Harold Bengsch said during Thursday’s Commission meeting.

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