citizen concerned about CAFOs' affect on county

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dear Editor:

This letter is written as a concerned citizen on the effect CAFOs will have on the Roaring River, Table Rock Lake, and Cassville and surrounding communities.

My wife and myself have had a home on Table Rock for over 25 years and retired here six years ago. We have been witness to growth in Cassville, fast food stops, motels, restaurants, schools and medical buildings. Roaring River has gone from a small park to a first class family gathering place. There now seems to be a real threat to Roaring River and that is a potential reversal for the business growth in Cassville and surrounding areas.

The DNR is in the process of granting a permit to building four chicken houses with 60,000 chickens. They will be within a mile uphill from Roaring River and only a few miles from the state park. We have been told the waste will not smell. Have any of you been around chicken waste that did not have an odor? When the wind is from the east, the campers and fishermen will not want to be there.

We have been told the waste will not get to the lake. These houses have dirt floors. There are natural springs all over that hall. A neighbor, nearby the proposed chicken houses, has a pond that is spring fed. When the spring rains dump a couple inches of water on that rocky hill, you can see the water coming out of the rocks.

Do you think over a number of years this will not pollute Roaring River and then Table Rock Lake? When we are told that Roaring River and part of Table Rock Lake is not safe to swim and the fish are dying, it will have a big effect on the businesses in Cassville. If you think this is a little far fetched, then talk to the people around Shoal Creek and Clear Water.

Another big concern is the amount of water coming out of Roaring River Spring. This stream has been producing less water. The chicken CAFOs use more ground water. Will that lower the amount of water used for the fish hatchery? I don't think anyone knows that for sure, but we do know the spring water flow has decreased. If the chicken CAFOs do lower the spring even more, then what will that do to the trout fishing in Roaring River and what effect will it have on Cassville's economy?

The last issue and a really big one is the health issue. Every day, more statistics show airborne diseases caused by bacteria from the CAFOs. The people working around the CAFOs use breathing equipment and some water wells have become contaminated. Every day there is more scientific knowledge about the testing of air and water and the effect the pollutants have on us is forthcoming. What if a few years from now an article comes out that the air around Roaring River is at risk to our residents' health?

I may seem to you that I am some radical. That is not true. I am a citizen of Barry County and a few months ago knew nothing about what a CAFO was. In the last few months, I have found out what effect these chicken CAFOs have had on Oklahoma and Arkansas lakes and ground water. I found out many states have strick laws and regulations so the CAFOs move to the easy states.

This is a large state and there are places for CAFOs, so why do we continue to approve permits next to watersheds and state parks? The DNR tells us they don't have the manpower to monitor the CAFOs, so let's put them whee they don't need monitoring. There is an abundance of information on the web as to the damage already caused by CAFOs and what some counties and states are doing to curtail it.

Jim Riedel

Eagle Rock, Missouri