Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Opinion

January 24, 2013

Another View

"The Fox Guards the Chickens"

Knoxville —  

I’ve been disturbed to learn that beautiful Iowa’s list of “impaired waterways” has grown to 628 so I decided to attend the recent day of action sponsored by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI).  

It was a great to chant, “This is what democracy looks like!” as hundreds of us milled around the grand rotunda of our Iowa Capitol before Gov. Branstad delivered his speech.  It was however quite painful to see more of how our democracy works.  

My interest in clean water took me to the session on factory farming – runoff from confinement animal feeding operations (CAFO’s) is the main source of impairment to our waterways.  (There’ve been at least 800 manure spills since 1995.)

Main update was – little has been done:  one woman related how her home is now surrounded by CAFO’s; odor and excrement from thousands of hogs so poisons her landscape that their retirement nest egg  – the value of their farm home – is gone.  A man told about the asthmatic condition he’s developed from CAFO pollution around the home they bought for an escape to Iowa’s clean air.  And we’re still trying for small safeguards:  local control; no CAFO closer than half a mile to a home; cut the construction permit threshold to 1,250 hogs …

So, of course, I went to the meeting where the 8-member, Governor-appointed, Iowa Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) was to vote on a proposed new rule for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  ICCI explained, “A big-moneyed corporate ag interest group called the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) has proposed a new rule to the DNR that, if passed, will weaken the DNR’s ability to crack down on factory farm polluters who violate our clean water laws … “

First, four people spoke for the new rule, representing Farm Bureau and Hog Producers, for instance.  Then came all who could speak against it in a half hour – compelling testimony against the rule.  (In previous public hearings 86 percent of speakers had been against.)   The new rule was hard to understand – a rule against rules, one said.  Why now when the DNR needs full staff restored and stronger rules to protect our water?   But after the EPC unanimously approved, I found out why:  most of the EPC are so intricately connected to factory farms and other polluting industries that in a court hearing they would have been required to “recuse” or excuse themselves.

Text Only
Opinion
  • The Rules of the Road By Jill Pertler I do not consider myself an excellent driver. I am good, or maybe just okay - around a B-minus to a C-plus if I were giving out grades. I am not great at maneuvering into tight parking spaces or knowing when it is my turn at a four-wa

    March 21, 2014

  • Steve mug Creativity rules! I've noticed as a married man that there are times in our marriages when it is just nice to be right. Take for instance Monday night. By the time I got home from the council meeting, I was pretty hungry. I didn't grab anything to eat before my evenin

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Frankford mug Acute Temporary Comfort Rejection Syndrome By Phillip Frankford Acute Temporary Comfort Rejection Syndrome

    March 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shivvers pic 21st century overwhelm, beginning with shampoo I was in a hurry and needed only one more item at the grocery store. Shampoo. I wanted shampoo to wash my hair. But I found a hazard course - and couldn't remember how I got through the last time. What should I do? Would it be simple "anti-itch liqui

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Next time ... To the Editor: While surfing my Facebook page, I came across this message: "I Shall Continue To Do What I think Is Right Whether Anybody Likes It Or Not." -Harry S. Truman. After reading this quote, I decided to tell my experience. I was walking to m

    March 21, 2014

  • Protecting Iowa's children A topic that most Iowans prefer not to acknowledge nor discuss is human trafficking. However, it is a serious matter in our society that we can no longer afford to ignore. With the I-80 and I-35 corridors that crisscross our state - and the I-29 corr

    March 6, 2014

  • Letter: Disagrees with Shivvers To the Editor: I read, with interest, Ms. Shivvers' comments in her opinion piece "Another View-Breaking Bad in Iowa" in the Feb. 14, 2014, edition of the Knoxville Journal-Express. It is the first time I have heard today's agriculture compared to th

    March 6, 2014

  • Slices of Life: Things we should do more often By Jill Pertler Live. Love. Laugh. Stop and smell the roses. See the glass as half full. Shoot for the moon. There are the familiar (cliché) activities we know we should engage in more often. But, for those of us not wanting to be cliché, there are

    March 6, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor-Bravo To the Editor: I'd like to take a moment and say, "Bravo!" to Charlotte Shivvers for her insightful column of February 14, "Another View - Breaking Bad in Iowa." Speaking truth to power happens rarely these days and when it does, it's cause for celeb

    February 27, 2014

  • Frankford mug Another Log on the Fire: Highs and Lows By Phillip Frankford I've heard it said that the mark of a good story teller is the ability to take the listener or reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions. He or she will abruptly lead the way from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo