úĚCitizens join appeal of CAFO permit

Thursday, April 19, 2007

By Lisa Schlichtman

Approximately 48 individuals are listed as being party to an appeal filed in opposition to a permit granted to Michelle and Rodney Ozbun to construct a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) on Highway F near Roaring River State Park.
These individuals sent letters to the Administrative Hearing Commission in Jefferson City during the 30-day appeal process, which ended on March 30. The Department of Natural Re-sources announced approval of the construction permit on March 2.
Under the permit guidelines, the Ozbuns will be allowed to build a Class 1C CAFO on their property. The facility, which will be operated as a no discharge operation, will have the capacity to house 65,600 chicken pullets. Waste from the operation must be contained and stored until it is land applied. The Ozbuns have publically stated their intention to have the litter transported out of the area.
Jim and Sharon Riedel, of Eagle Rock, are among those who have been involved in trying to stop construction of the CAFO. The couple have made frequent trips to Jefferson City to lobby legislators concerning restrictions that would make it harder for CAFOs to locate in the state, and especially around lakes, streams and tourist areas.
In their letter of appeal, the Riedels  wrote, We strongly disapprove of this permit being issued to the Ozbuns. These chicken houses will be about a mile from Roaring River, which is a pure water spring feeding into Table Rock Lake.
The houses will sit on top of a high rocky hill and any run-off will go directly down the hill to the lake. If these chicken houses are built, they will contaminate the lake at some time. Please do not allow the destruction of one of God s masterpieces. 
Ranada Vinyard, a staff attorney with the Administra-tive Hearing Commission, said the formal appeal will now be followed by a hearing. A date for this hearing has yet to be set.
All decisions up to this point have been made by DNR,  said Vinyard. Once it comes to us, it s a pure appeals process. We are a court-like entity. 
The end result of the appeals process will be a recommended decision made to the Missouri Clean Water Commission by the Administrative Hearing Commission.
The Missouri Clean Water Commission will make the final decision (on the appeal),  said Vinyard.
Friends of Roaring River, a concerned citizens group that was organized in opposition to the Ozbun CAFO operation, continues to hold regular public meetings. The group s last meeting was held on April 17.
At this time, no injunction to stop construction of the Ozbun farm has been issued; therefore, construction on the project can proceed despite the filing of an appeal.
Once the Ozbuns complete construction of the CAFO, the couple must apply for an operator s permit, which will also require DNR approval.
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