The Ottumwa Courier


April 7, 2013

A peek into the Iowa state Legislature



Sheets said he would prefer local control on the issue rather than the Iowa Department of Natural Resources having the final say. Chelgren agreed, saying anytime there’s an opportunity to empower local government, that’s what should be done.

”I’m hoping we can get it so the board [of supervisors] can make those decisions, rather than the matrix used across the state,” Sheets said.

Chelgren also said he understands that the economic vitality of Iowa is thanks in large part to farmers.

“But the quest for economic vitality should not supersede the health of our citizens,” he said.

Gaskill encouraged anyone with concerns to talk with local pork producers to try to come to some kind of agreement.

”When it gets to the state level and changing the Iowa Code, I’m very dubious that anything can be done ... even though many of us support local control, there are more right now who do not,” she said.

When CAFOs originated, they were proposed as an economic development tool, though knowledge of their environmental and health effects were largely unknown at the time, Hanson said.

”I think we shot ourselves in the foot back in those days when we didn’t look at the overall environmental impact of hog confinements,” Hanson said. “There are ways to have less problems with odors ... ways to reduce that pollution and smell. However, they’re not widely used by most corporate animal feeding operations. That’s something maybe we should look at and see if we can put new regulations on it. But I don’t see us rolling back requirements and turning to local control right now, even though I’d like us to.”

One citizen asked the legislators why the Constitution was not being enforced when it comes to the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling in 2009 to make gay marriage legal, alleging that the judges overstepped their bounds in making the ruling.

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