Monday morning, the Tama County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to recommend that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) deny a giant factory farm proposed by Iowa Board of Regents president Bruce Rastetter's corporation, Summit Farms, outside of Lincoln, Iowa. If built, the factory farm would house 4,400 hogs and produce 1.1 million gallons of manure annually.
Neighborhood opposition to the site was led by local members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI), a statewide citizen action group that uses community organizing as a strategy to build grassroots power and win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics, and polluters.
The DNR now has 30 days to approve or reject the county's recommendation. If the DNR rejects the county's position, Tama county may appeal the decision to the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC). Bruce Rastetter's brother, Brent Rastetter, serves on the EPC and owns a construction firm that was contracted to build this facility.
Over 100 of the 162 local residents of Lincoln have signed a petition opposing Rastetter's proposal.
"Today Tama county stood on the side of people from my neighborhood and said no to factory farm pollution destroying our air, water, and quality of life," said Dave McGowan, a CCI member from Gladbrook, one of the closest residents to the proposed factory farm. "We call on DNR Director Chuck Gipp to put people first and deny the permit for this site."
A Summit Farms representative testified during a county supervisors meeting that the hogs for the proposed factory farm would be owned by Smithfield, a giant meatpacker that has made international news in recent days after a Chinese corporation offered to buy the company.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. With thousands of members from all walks of life - urban and rural, black and white, immigrants and lifelong Iowans - CCI has been tackling tough issues and getting things done for more than 35 years.
For more information about Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, visit www.iowacci.org