The Harms factory-farm (or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, CAFO) proposals near the Village of Saunemin in Livingston County will not be constructed any time soon.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) was expected to announce its decision on both 4,500-head hog facility applications on Oct. 5. Instead, the IDOA sent a letter to the applicant, Patrick Harms, requesting more information.
Harms is being asked to provide additional information regarding the odor control plans, the routes vehicles will use to transport feed and animals to and from the facilities, as well as plans to minimize pollution runoff and leaching.
In response to one of the county board’s most pressing concerns regarding area water resources, the IDOA is also inquiring whether or not there have been any water yield tests on the subject properties.
Once Harms responds to IDOA’s inquiries, the agency has 10 days to review the information and make a decision on the applications or request additional information. “We are encouraged that the IDOA did not give a rubber-stamp approval of the applications, but remained concerned that construction may still be allowed through this process,” says neighboring resident, Julie Fox.
September 15, the Livingston County Board enacted a resolution recommending that the IDOA deny both facility applications due to concerns over negative impacts on water resources and existing community growth and development. However, the IDOA can override the County’s recommendation. The IDOA has frequently disregarded county board decisions across the state of Illinois.
According to Karen Hudson of the Illinois Citizens for Clean Air & Water, “Time and time again, the IDOA has permitted industrial livestock facilities while overlooking the public’s interests in protecting the environment, quality of life, and local community rights to self-determination. I hope this time it’s different.”
From the Oct. 12-18, 2011, issue