Dozens of Davis County residents protest hog confinements

<font size="2">Dozens of people packed the Soap Creek Lodge Wednesday night.</font>

Dozens of people packed the Soap Creek Lodge Wednesday evening, calling on the DNR to deny the construction of three CAFOs, otherwise known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

â??We want the DNR to hear us, and youâ??ll see the large turnout here. Every citizen around this area is concerned and opposes this operation,â?? Jim Ealy, a concerned resident, said.

Harold Hulme says that farmer Ron Thomas of Unionville, Iowa has proposed to build one of those hog confinements 1400 ft. from Hulmeâ??s home, just north of Lake Wapello in Davis County.

â??A little further west from Lake Wapello is an old dirt road, and itâ??s about half gravel and half dirt and itâ??s Alfalfa Ave.,â?? Hulme said, â??and thereâ??s one of them proposed there, and then the other one is on Arbor Blvd., and itâ??s real close to Ronnie Thomas, the originator of all this stuff.â??

They first brought the issue to the Davis County Supervisors, but a supervisor in Wapello County says they are limited with the Iowa code on what they can do to take action.

"Each time weâ??ve had a hog confinement operation projected for Wapello County, we hold public hearings on it, and we hold public hearings as the Board of Supervisors just to take the information from the groups that oppose it and send it to the state,â?? Jerry Parker said. â??However, it should be noted that we the supervisors have absolutely nothing to do about citing the confinement operations.â??

The Iowa CCI claims the DNR can deny the establishments, however the organizationâ??s director of environmental protection present at the meeting says the task is not so simple, and Supervisor Parker can agree.

â??If you build them according to the state regulations, and you pass the matrix youâ??re gonna be able to build it,â?? Parker said. â??Thereâ??s nothing we as supervisors can do to stop.â??

But the residents arenâ??t going to stop fighting what theyâ??re calling a â??cancer to the community.â??

â??As Iâ??ve learned more about these, they are just not good for the community,â?? Ealy said. â??These for the most part, infrastructure-wise, land stewardship, water quality, so Iâ??m opposed to all of them.â??

By the end of the meeting, many residents still had objections to the confinement on Arbor Blvd, which is near Thomasâ?? home and business. Hume says the DNR gave their word to take a look at the sites on Clay and Alfalfa Ave. in Marion Township.