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Panel rejects call for new animal feeding operation rules

A state panel has rejected a petition from two environmental activist groups that sought stricter standards for proposed animal feeding operations. (MGN Online)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state panel has rejected a petition from two environmental activist groups that sought stricter standards for proposed animal feeding operations.

The Des Moines Register reports the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission denied the petition Monday from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food & Water Watch. The groups called for the commission to require cattle feedlots and confined hog operations to require more distance from neighbors and take other actions that would protect water and air quality.

The organizations argue current rules aren't tough enough and that the state panel approves nearly all proposed livestock facilities. The Environmental Protection Commission oversee the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Commissioners turned down the petition, saying the proposed rules were so strict that the result would be a halt in approving any new operations. Some commissioners called for upgrading the state's approval process but say that's a task that should be left to the Legislature.

Tarah Heinzen, a staff attorney for Food & Water Watch, said in a statement that the commission's action shows the DNR "lacks the political will to fix its broken regulations."

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