Poultry farming bill heads to House

SOUTH CAROLINA - Local governments would lose power to impose tougher regulations on poultry farm operations with legislation the Senate sent to the House on Thursday.

Senators shut down a final filibuster attempt by Sen. Phil Leventis, D-Sumter and passed the bill with a 29-7 vote.

The legislation leaves the state Department of Health and Environmental Control with oversight of poultry operations.

"We feel like our regulations are protective of the environment," said DHEC spokesman Thom Berry, who added the bill does not change the agency's regulations.

Leventis argued for two hours in a mostly empty Senate chamber that the bill harms local government and property owners.

"This bill violates private property rights. This bill takes property rights from rural land owners," Leventis said.

For instance, setback regulations would require 1,000 feet between a poultry house and a home on neighboring property. But nearly all of that 1,000-foot setback or buffer could be within the boundaries of the neighboring property, Leventis said.

"I think that that's outrageous. I can't believe that anyone would say that this is a right-to-farm bill. No one has the right to use your property for their buffer in my opinion," Leventis said.

Leventis also said the legislation was a power grab that tramples on local government rights to set stricter standards.

The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, which pushed the bill, says 13 counties have tougher regulations than the state Department of Health and Environmental Control already.

Source: The State
calendar icon 28 April 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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