Supervisors to invite lawmakers in to discuss confinements

Public hearing on chicken facility reveals flaws in the matrix system, officials say

    COUNTY – The Shelby County Board of Supervisors will be inviting local legislators to a meeting during the next few months to discuss the master matrix and confinement operations.
    The invitation comes on the heels of a public hearing recently where neighbors of a proposed chicken confinement facility north of Earling were vocally upset about the project, citing everything from water issues and smell to close location to Manteno Park, just to name a few.
    Even more so, they were upset that the developer, Jesse Blum and Grove Ridge Poultry, hadn’t contacted them individually to discuss the project.
    The supervisors have no say in whether or not a confinement is constructed if it meets the scoring parameters of the master matrix, a scoring system that can be used to evaluate the siting of permitted confinement feeding operations.  According to the Iowa DNR, producers in counties that have adopted the matrix must meet higher standards than other permitted facilities. Before they can be approved for construction, they must earn points on the master matrix for choosing sites and using practices that reduce adverse impacts on the environment and the community.
    Producers must have 50 percent (440 points minimum) of the total score and at least 25 percent of the available points in each of the three subcategories of air, water and community impacts to pass the matrix.
    The supervisors, however, think there should be more discussion and other parameters to the scoring of the matrix.  They voted against recommending the permit for the project be issued, but it doesn’t really mean anything, they said.  The DNR has the final say.

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