DNR issues operating permit for CAFO

Thursday, August 30, 2007

On Aug. 22, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a permit to operate a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) to Rodney and Michelle Ozbun, of Eagle Rock.

This action took place less than a month after the Ozbuns' construction permit was stayed by the Missouri Administra-tive Hearing Commission. In issuing the stay, Commission-er John Kopp stated that the construction permit had been granted without all of the legal requirements having been met.

The operating permit issued by DNR last week allows for the operation of a Class 1C CAFO on the Ozbun property, which is located on Highway F between Roaring River State Park and Highway 86. The Ozbuns have built four pullet houses on their land, and these structures have the capacity to house 65,600 pullets.

DNR officials said they reviewed the operating permit application submitted by the Ozbuns and found that it complies with Missouri law governing CAFOs and meets all legal and regulatory requirements.

According to the permit, the Ozbuns' operation is designed and permitted as a no-discharge operation, which means that process wastes will be contained and stored until proper land application can take place.

State law requires that land application of the waste produced by the Ozbun CAFO "must be conducted using proper agronomic rates, proper application timing and proper setbacks from geologic features to minimize nutrient run-off and infiltration into groundwater."

The Ozbuns have gone on record and stated that the waste generated by their pullet operation will be shipped and land applied at off-site locations.

DNR first issued a construction permit to Michelle Ozbun in March, which gave her permission to build four confinement buildings.

The construction of a CAFO within a few miles of Roaring River State Park sparked an immediate reaction from nearby property owners and other area residents who believe the operation will negatively impact water quality and tourism.

A local group calling themselves Friends of Roaring River have been meeting since the Ozbuns first proposed their project, and a number of individuals associated with the group were part of an appeal filed in opposition to the initial construction permit issued by DNR.

The appellants are now claiming that the Ozbuns violated the stay order and continued construction on their property after the stay was issued.

In a telephone interview after the stay was issued, Michelle Ozbun told the Cassville Democrat that the stay would have no impact on her project because the construction of the pullet houses had already been completed.

DNR officials concur with Ozbun and state that any construction that took place on the property after July 25 involved construction of other storage buildings and other equipment not related to manure storage or treatment. DNR stated that this type of construction does not fall under the authorization of a construction permit and was therefore not affected by the Administrative Hearing Commission's stay order.

Beverly Sweeney, an Eagle Rock property owner who lives near the Ozbuns, sent a letter to the Commission alleging the stay order had been violated. In response, the Commission has issued an order requesting information from those involved in the appeal, including DNR, on this subject. These responses are due back by Aug. 29.

Issuance of an operating permit also provides the opportunity for appeals. Anyone may appeal the department's latest permit decision by filing a petition with the Administrative Hearing Commission within 30 days of the date the permit was issued. In this case, the last date to file an appeal petition would be Sept. 21.

Appeals must be mailed to the Administrative Hearing Commission, P.O. Box 1557, Jefferson City, MO 65102 or faxed to 573-751-5018. Those who have already appealed the Ozbun construction permit do not need to file an additional appeal on the operating permit.

For more information, contact the DNR's Water Protection Program at 1-800-361-4827. A copy of the permit can be viewed on-line at www.dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp/permits/index.html.

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