By Danielle Diamond and Karen Hudson
Dear ICCAW (Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water) members:
The time has come! We have finally proposed a bill to amend the Illinois Livestock Management Facilities Act (LMFA)!
In the final hour of the bill filing deadline for this year’s General Assembly, ICCAW and our environmental partners filed H.B. 5637, which will correct many of the problems with the Department of Agriculture’s flawed system of permitting new and expanding factory farms in Illinois.
But the work has just begun and we need your help! We need all ICCAW members and supporters to contact their state representatives and ask them to support H.B. 5637 as soon as possible. We want legislators to hear from supporters before they hear from industry opponents like the Farm Bureau!
Here is a summary of the bill:
Gives neighbors more rights, including the right to call for automatic public hearings on factory farm proposals without having to petition county boards, as well as the right to appeal bad Department of Agriculture siting and permitting decisions;
- Gives county boards veto power to decide whether new factory farms should be sited in their communities;
- Increases facility siting setbacks from homes and towns;
- Gets rid of the facility “expansion loophole” and requires expanding factory farms to meet similar requirements as new factory farms;
- Creates more stringent and meaningful siting criteria that will be more protective of the environment and surrounding neighbors and communities;
- Requires more facilities to submit their waste management plans to the Department of Agriculture as part of the permitting process and those plans to be made available to the public;
- Requires waste management plans to include spill control and prevention plans, and more stringent waste land application criteria to prevent water pollution;
- Creates a facility siting setback from surface waters; and
- Allows for citizens to enforce the provisions of the act if the department fails to do so.
Please call your state representatives now and ask them to support the bill. We suggest you call their district office and leave a message with the person who answers the phone. You can find your state representative, their phone number and e-mail by going here: www.elections.il.gov/districtlocator/addressfinder.aspx.
Here is a sample message you may use:
My name is X and I am a constituent. I am asking Representative X to support H.B. 5637. This bill is necessary to protect neighbors and the environment from the negative impacts of industrial livestock farms. Please support H.B. 5637!
Please note: State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D) of the 103rd District is the sponsor of our bill. If Jakobsson is your representative, please call her office and thank her!
Thank you so very much for taking action. Remember, legislators listen to their constituents and numbers matter, so your action is very important!
Stay tuned for more action alerts and what else you can do.
Danielle Diamond is executive director/attorney-organizer/research associate at Socially Responsible Agriculture Project. Karen L. Hudson is a farmer, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project consultant, and Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water member.
From the March 12-18, 2014 print edition