Rep. Jeff Harris, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, has unveiled a proposal to stop the spread of CAFOS across the landscape of Missouri. His campaign issued this news release today:
State Rep. Jeff Harris, Democratic candidate for Missouri Attorney General unveiled his plan to give rural communities greater power to limit the development of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) near their properties. Harris is the only Democratic candidate in the race for Attorney General with a plan for helping rural communities deal with the growing CAFO problem.
“Missourians don’t believe that bureaucrats in Jefferson City should decide whether a CAFO can move in next door their homes,” said Harris. “Our rural communities need an Attorney General who will give a greater voice to the people, instead of fighting to give Jefferson City more power. My plan will give people, who are forced to live with the smell, pollution and waste caused by a nearby CAFO, a powerful voice in the licensing process.”
Earlier this session, Representative Harris filed a bill to allow local residents to use the initiative petition process to put approval of a proposed CAFO to a public vote. Current law only requires notification of those living within 4,500 feet of the proposed site and doesn’t require the Department of Natural Resources to take local opposition into account when reviewing a permit application.
“This issue affects the health of our citizens and the health of our rural communities.” said Harris. “CAFOs can lead to increased illness in those who live nearby, especially children. Additionally, CAFOs ruin the property values of those who find themselves living next to one. Missouri must give local residents the power to decide where these corporate livestock factories are going to be allowed.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a moderate size CAFO can produce as much solid waste as 16,000 people. Pollution becomes a problem when these lagoons leak into water sources or when dispersed waste runs off of fields into neighboring property. Of the 105,000 farms in Missouri, 99.5 percent don’t fall under CAFO regulations. Harris said the current CAFO licensing process fails to protect Missouri’s rural residents. At present, a CAFO with 17,499 hogs is allowed within 3,000 feet of a neighboring family’s home.