WASHINGTON, Sept 20, 2017 - Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commission has rejected a petition to strengthen factory farm siting requirements, saying it’s a job for state legislators. The petition sought to increase the distances between new facilities and schools, nursing homes, wells and other “public use areas,” and proposed changes to the state’s “master matrix” scoring system used to approve new facilities. As implemented, the matrix is no more than a “rubber stamp,” according to the groups petitioning the EPC, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food & Water Watch. They said only about 2 percent of all applications are turned down. “We won’t stop fighting the corporate cronyism that pollutes Iowa’s water. Today was only the beginning,” farmer and Hardin County CCI member Nick Schutt told the commission. After Monday’s meeting, CCI members delivered letters to state lawmakers and Gov. Kim Reynolds demanding a moratorium on new livestock facilities and local control over siting. Farmers who spoke to the commission defended the current system and their operations. Brianne Streck, whose family raises pigs and grows corn and soybeans, told the EPC, "We care for livestock and take care of our land because that's where we live. It's where we work, and it's where we raise our children," according to coverage in the Des Moines Register.
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