The Greene County Commissioners have decided against a non-binding resolution to reaffirm their position against Senate Bill 391, which takes local control of concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.
The bill, which is currently facing a court fight in Cedar County, was passed during the last legislative session. The bill blocks counties from imposing restrictions on CAFOs that are stronger than what the state has imposed upon them.
Commissioners expressed concern that the state legislative delegation from the region could be bothered by such a resolution. Presiding Commissioner Dixon said that he didn’t want to “jeopardize” what he called an “improving relationship” between the Commission and the state delegation.
“I think we’ve made it clear where we stand on local control,” Dixon said in reference to the resolution.
Dixon also noted that under the current county zoning, there could be CAFO operations in 90 percent of the county but that is not the case.
Commissioner Harold Bengsch said that he gets a lot of feedback from residents on issues like this but the residents don’t usually understand how the state handcuffs local officials.
“It’s very difficult for our community to understand that we’re powerless, that the power has been taken away from us,” Bengsch said. “We have another situation like this [with Senate Bill 391.]”
Commissioner John Russell acknowledged that the non-binding resolution wouldn’t change anything with the law.
“If I thought it would do something, if I thought it would fix something, I would probably do it,” Russell said.
The decision by the Commission could have an impact on the city of Springfield. City Councilman Andrew Lear attended Thursday’s County Commission meeting and said the issue is
“I think people are well-intentioned,” Lear told reporters. “We all have different perspectives but something that sounds good in Jeff City…when you get down here on the ground isn’t what you intended.”
Lear said he would have to speak with fellow Councilman Mike Schilling to see if they would push the matter further with the Springfield city council.