Friday, May 15, 2015

Clay County CAFO conflict continues

South Dakota's current Republican governor signed a law passed by a SDGOP-dominated state legislature limiting local control over CAFOs.
Concentrated animal feeding operations commonly referred to by the EPA’s definition of CAFO’s can be seen across the landscape of the United States’ agricultural lands. Animals are kept in a building where they are fed until ready for market. Their waste is collected and placed in a lagoon. The EPA designates these structures as ones of a certain size which confines animals for more than 45 days during a growing season in an area that does not produce vegetation. What once were rolling pastures are have now become roads and buildings as our society advances and our population grows. Water quality has also become an issue, making manure collection a critical aspect. Currently, according to USDA data, Clay County ranks last in beef livestock numbers. [Vermillion Plain Talk]
Concern over the further contamination of shallow aquifers that supply water to a third of East River has caused the Clay County Planning and Zoning Board to table for the second time in as many weeks changing the county ordinances governing CAFOs.
Board member and county commissioner Travis Mockler said his primary concern was with the limits on dairy operations. "The dairy number needs to be removed," he said. "Maybe we need to consider keeping the cap but allow variances where operators can prove they know how to operate a clean operation and they can then expand to say that 7,000 cap." Currently, dairy operations are capped at 3,200.
Read it here.
Water quality in the Big Sioux, James, and Vermillion rivers of South Dakota, which drain all or parts of 34 eastern counties, is impaired. Samples from these streams contain pollutants and physical impairments that limit their use for drinking water, fisheries, and water-related recreation. The persistence of poor water quality over many years relates to several land uses in the watersheds, namely, urban growth, and a variety of agricultural practices. [US EPA]
Gov. Dennis Daugaard is a toady of industrial agriculture and denies the existence of the Anthropocene.

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