Governor Vilsack held an event in (not so) Clear Lake today to raise awareness on the ramifications of a Iowa Administrative Rules Review Committee decision from yesterday. The Register has the story.
Here's the short version: The Rules Committee voted on whether or not to give IDNR director Jeff Vonk greater authority on the siting of hog confinements. While the Rules committee did give Vonk the power, the fashion in which they did so left the matter open to legal challenge, which it will almost certainly face. Agribusiness, as you may recall, has some money to throw around on this issue.
Giving Vonk greater power over CAFO's is definitely a step in the right direction, but really, there's only one way to fully solve the problem: local control. The people who are going to have to live near a proposed hog confinement are the most qualified to determine its location. I don't know how you can argue against that.
So far, on the questionnaire I issued yesterday, I've received one response (none so far today). The one responder didn't know how to answer the question about local control, because they didn't know what a CAFO is.
We all need to do what we can to make sure we're electing people who get it on this issue. For once, I'm with Vilsack on this.