Mr. Luzum recently wrote that hog producers exploit us because of weak laws. Unfortunately, the laws of the regulatory system aren’t broken; they are “fixed.” The regulatory system is designed to set the approval terms for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). A high enough matrix score means CAFO approval.
Since Iowa State law currently preempts any local action on CAFOs, citizen safety, health or other concerns don’t even enter into the DNR regulatory discussion. Citizens and elected officials can only attend hearings, write letters, sign petitions, and protest decisions and those actions have little or no impact. William Penn said, “Let the people think they govern, and they will be governed.”
However, in over 200 communities nationwide, the people are enumerating their rights and enacting rights-based laws. By substantiating their inherent right to clean water, air, and soil citizens have exercised local control and stopped undesired corporate actions. To protect our future we’ll need such community rights laws here.
(Published in the Decorah Journal)