To the Editor:
I am writing in response to the report of the visit by DNR Director Doyle Childers and the letter from Beverly Sweeney regarding his visit. I am sorry to say I neglected to attend the meeting though I can tell from Mr. Childers comments that he has no interest in the concerns of those of us who are affected by the massive pollutants left by the CAFOs.
I was appalled when I first heard that this type of operation was being built in that area but was hopeful that the concerted efforts of the area residents would prevail and the permit would be denied. The fact that the project was allowed to proceed even though there was significant and justifiable opposition shows that no one in the government had any intention of actually taking the concerns of the public into consideration. As Beverly Sweeney pointed out in her letter, the operation will be up and running before those in opposition are given the opportunity to make their case.
I would also like to comment on Mr. Childers statement that he "has a problem telling people what to do with their land." Well, so do I. But when what they do with their land has a negative impact of massive proportions on land that does not belong to them, and should be considered a national treasure, the government can, and on a regular basis, does, step in and says no. If we don't recognize the impact both from pollution and from the amount of ground water pumping that these operations cause, we will be sitting in a very dry and polluted area in the not too distant future.
I would also like to note that the fact that they are drilling several test wells, one in the Butterfield area, is a red flag indicating that DNR and other government entities are fully aware of the negative impact on the area water supply.
The only fault I find with Beverly Sweeney's letter is that there was an implication that the impact was less important in the areas north and west of Cassville. That is not the case. The only difference is that in these areas the damage is already far along. Pollution in the creeks and a noticeable drop in the levels of the creeks and streams are an indication that it doesn't take long to see the impact.
Though I doubt that Mr. Childers will read this, I would still like to respond to his comment about how things are done in California. I am not from California and I really find most of the actions of the various California government entities to be fairly absurd. However, to a great extent, the draconian environmental measures enacted there are due to the residents finding themselves in a position of living with extremes of pollution. In other words, various government agencies supported big corporations and uncontrolled development under the guise of "economic development" until the situation was beyond ignoring. So do we want to wait until we are in that position to take action?
On a final note, I hope that everyone considers how many tourists will be flocking to the area to see the "chicken houses."