Iowa EPC to vote on controversial water quality bill

IOWA - A controversial request by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for more authority to control factory farm pollution goes to a vote Monday in front of a state commission.
calendar icon 20 June 2006
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The request for an administrative rules change would allow DNR Director Jeff Vonk more discretion in denying livestock confinement construction permits. He has said the authority is needed as factory farm construction reached record highs for five years in a row.

In 2005, the DNR approved 203 permits -- the bulk of them for the $12 billion hog industry in Iowa, the largest in the nation. As of April 28 this year, the DNR had handled 358 permits, DNR officials said. The agency rejected only a handful of those permits, mostly because they didn't meet manure management plan requirements.

The DNR's request caused a backlash from lawmakers, who accused the agency of overstepping its authority.

The Legislature passed a bill in early May that would have stripped Vonk of his ability to deny construction permits to livestock confinements that meet state requirements but may pose environmental risks.

Lawmakers said they want the DNR to approve permits by the rule of law, not at the agency's or its director's discretion.

Source: Sioux City Journal

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