Humboldt supervisors review state action
By ROBERT WOLF
DAKOTA CITY – The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission has turned down Humboldt County’s appeal of a livestock confinement construction permit, Humboldt County Zoning Director Melody Larson told the Board of Supervisors Monday.
The supervisors had denied the construction permit in March at the recommendation of Humboldt County’s board of adjustment because the requested site survey had not been received in the time frame agreed upon and the manure management easement agreement listed ground which was already being used by another facility. In addition, Brookglade Farms, the applicant, refused to provide six copies of the application to the county as requested.
Despite those objections, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in April approved the construction permit for Brookglade Farms LLC, Iowa Falls.
The company applied for a construction permit for expanding an existing operation in section 33 of Wacousta Township, about two miles northeast of Bradgate. Planned is a new swine confinement finishing barn to house 2,500 head. The total number of finisher swine to be confined at the site after completion is 5,000.
In May, the supervisors appealed the DNR decision to the EPC. After hearing the county’s concerns, the commission upheld the DNR decision on June 20.
“I think it was a win,” Larson said. “I know they still approved the hog confinement, but we got our voice heard. The commission, they were very cordial. They did not cut me off at any point. They listened to every statement I made.”
Larson said her opening statement to the commission was that the county is not against the confinements.
“We don’t have an issue with the hog confinements coming in,” she said. “My frustration is the lack of communication, not knowing really what is going on.”
Larson said, according to the attorney for Keith Kratchemer, environmental compliance officer for Iowa Select, of Iowa Falls, the manure management plan had been revised. However Larson said neither she nor the EPC had seen those plans yet.
“We don’t have a copy of them yet,” Board Chairman Rick Pedersen said.
Supervisor Bruce Reimers said he didn’t understand why the county is involved in checking on confinement permits and have their own people in place, yet the state allows the companies to do what they do. It seems like just a formality and the county has no real say, he said.
“We have to be in the chain of command here somehow,” he said.
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