More DNR livestock authority approved

IOWA - A state environmental commission approved a controversial measure Monday to increase the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' authority over building or expanding livestock confinement operations.

The Environmental Protection Commission voted 5-2 to approve an administrative rule change that gives the director of the DNR more discretion to deny proposed operations that follow existing law but might have "adverse effects" on the environment.

The change needs to be finalized by the Legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee, which will take up the issue this summer.

Farmers and livestock industry representatives criticized the commission's action. Environmental activists praised the decision, which came after more than 70 minutes of public comment.

The commission heard from 11 people, including farmers and industry representatives, who opposed the rule change. Eight people, mostly from environmental groups, spoke in favor of the rule change.

The commission discussed the measure in public for about 30 minutes. Jeff Vonk, the DNR's director, said that the issue had generated a considerable amount of controversy and that representatives of both sides had distorted the extent of the bill.

Source: Des Moines Register
calendar icon 20 June 2006
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