Springfield City Council Votes Down CAFO Protest Resolution

A resolution introduced to Springfield City Council to protest the passage of Senate Bill 391 concerning Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, and the impact of that bill on local control failed to pass Monday night.

A sharply-divided Council had the measure fail on a 4-5 vote, with Councilmen Schilling, Lear, Hosmer, and McGull voting in favor of the resolution.

The measure stated: “City Council hereby affirms its commitment to retaining local control” and “City Council hereby objects to the passage of Senate Bill 391 which restricted local control of concentrated animal feeding operations.”

Councilman Andrew Lear said he brought the resolution forward because a number of residents had contacted him upset over the passage of the measure and concerns about water quality. While there are no CAFOs in Springfield or Greene County, and no plans for CAFO to open in Springfield or Greene County, there are operations in Cedar County and that could cause impact on the water quality in Greene County along with problems of local control.

Cedar County is currently involved in litigation with the state over Senate Bill 391.

Lear noted that the bill usurps local control in a number of ways, including health department codes, and that the City Council has always stood for the protection of local control on issues that impact the community.

Councilman Hosmer also noted the hampering of local control and noted that the state legislature will just keep going one piece at a time to take control away from local governments. He said that the city of Springfield needs to stand beside Cedar County on this fight about local control because in the future Springfield will need to take a stand and they’ll need Cedar County come alongside the city in that fight.

Councilman McGull noted that it was “just a resolution” and not an ordinance that restated the city’s commitment to local control, and that local control is the whole purpose of the founding of government in America.

“We should have and determine our own destiny,” McGull said. “Government is close enough to the people as possible. They can hold us accountable for things that we have done.”

Mayor McClure was the lone voice on Council speaking against the measure, noting that he felt the resolution was “misdirected.”

“The attention should be on state legislators, not a city council who can do nothing,” Mayor McClure said, noting the speakers to the Council on the resolution. “The people who spoke here didn’t even talk to our state legislators.”

McClure noted that Greene County, being a class one county, can still control CAFOs or other agriculture operations through their planning and zoning process.

The four who spoke in favor voted for the measure while Ollis, Simpson, Ferguson, and Fisk joined without comment Mayor McClure in voting against the measure.

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