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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 23, 2017

JFAN members address board of supervisors

Supervisors will not put CAFO moratorium discussion on meeting agenda
By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Jul 13, 2017

Around 15 citizens including members of Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors addressed the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors Monday during a regular meeting at the courthouse.

JFAN delivered a petition to the board with more than 1,300 signatures of citizens calling for a moratorium resolution on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Jefferson County.

The petition was presented during the public comment portion of the meeting.

As it has in the past, JFAN also asked the board if it would reconsider putting the resolution on the next meeting’s agenda.

During a board meeting in late June, supervisors Dick Reed and Lee Dimmitt refused to make the matter an agenda item.

During Monday’s meeting, Reed said the board had already decided not to move forward with a moratorium petition at the March 27 meeting when the initial discussion took place. Supervisor Dee Sandquist placed the discussion item on that meeting’s agenda at JFAN’s request. Around 75 community members attended that meeting.

“When it was on the agenda, they filled the courthouse lobby,” Reed said during an interview today. “Then we had the conversation with JFAN and they came back, and nothing has changed ... It doesn’t really help the community for us to fill the courthouse and get a bunch of negativity. That’s not what we’re really about. Why beat a dead horse to death?

“Any one of the supervisors can put it on the agenda. In today’s world, you want to accomplish something when you try to move forward. It’s kind of getting old. I like every one of those people. I know their faces, and I like them. It’s just that I’m not going to send a piece of paper to Des Moines to stop somebody’s livelihood. I don’t think that’s government’s position. It’s like putting a stop sign on the street to slow traffic down — if you want to slow traffic down, you just put a lower speed limit, you don’t put a stop sign.”

JFAN executive director Diane Rosenberg said the supervisors should represent everyone in the county, not only CAFO owners.

“I’m disappointed that in the face of 1,328 petition signatures, nearly 300 postcard messages, and all the emails, phone calls, letters to the editor and face-to-face meetings with county citizens who asked our supervisors to support a moratorium resolution, Supervisors Reed and Dimmitt wouldn’t agree to put this point on the agenda for a formal discussion,” Rosenberg said during an interview today. “That seems to me a disregard of the democratic process, and a denial of democratic representation. To me, this is even a bigger disappointment than if they voted against a resolution. I’ve seen things put on the agenda with less people behind the request.”

“The resolution was not intended to be a divisive issue, as Supervisors Reed and Dimmitt contend it is. There are people all over the county who are affected or concerned about CAFOs. As Dr. John Ikerd said in his letter to the editor last week, ‘CAFOs are the source of the noise and animosity, not the concerned citizens.’”

Ikerd also had a chance to speak out during the meeting.

“We were told the state isn’t going to change the law because CAFOs are essential to the Iowa economy … it was once legal for factories to dump their chemical and biological wastes directly into the rivers. People were told environmental regulations would destroy the economy. But the American people decided that even though these things were legal, they were not moral or ethical. After long difficult struggles, the laws were changed,” Ikerd said.

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