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Controversy is not personal argument

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dear Editor:

This is a reply to Mrs. Ozbun's letter to the editor on Oct. 10. After reading the letter, my first reaction was to take each point she made and provide a more accurate account, but then I changed my mind because this is not a personal disagreement between two people, 10 people or a 100 people.

Everyone I am associated with has one goal and that is to protect our water, air, parks and environment. People are upset at what the DNR has allowed Mrs. Ozbun do. The DNR continues to issue permits that affect the air.

Talk to people in Neosho and Carthage. The DNR continues to issue permits that affect our water. Talk to people along the upper and lower Shoal Creek and the Elk River Watershed, Dry Fork Branch, Spring River and all the other impaired water in Missouri.

The fight to protect our environment in Missouri seems to be growing and new people that are coming onboard in this area need to know a few things:
In October 2006, letters went out notifying surrounding landowners of the proposed chicken CAFO. In November of 2006, a meeting of concerned citizens was held and over 100 people were present. In the January meeting, over 200 were present. Michelle attended these meetings.

The people at these meetings were hometown people: businessmen, farmers, laborers and retirees. They were not from California or New York, they were from Cassville, Eagle Rock, Golden, Holiday Island and Roaring River area. The people at these meetings had one thing in common (protect the environment).

The dissatisfaction of CAFOs near Roaring River didn't happen after the houses were built and the permits issued. There may be 15 people actively fighting the DNR but there are a couple hundred people behind them and that number is growing. In central Missouri, a farmer initiated a lawsuit filed against the DNR in protest for a proposed CAFO. The Missouri Parks Association has joined that suit.

The DNR director and many of our local politicians and other representatives and senators that are pro CAFOs keep saying the problem is from all the new people moving into southwest Missouri; clearing land for development and putting in septic tanks. We do have some septic tank problems, but it is not from the people that cleared land and moved here in the last 20 years.

The requirements today are very strict. It can cost a new homeowner upward of $10,000 to get their septic and laterals installed and approved. On the other hand, let's look at chicken litter. We can spread untreated chicken manure next to, or uphill from Roaring River or Table Rock Lake.

Clearing land for development is not good for the environment, but most of the time people plant grass and trees back on the land. Go look at the CAFO in question and see how much land was cleared and how many trees and grass were replanted.

The use of the word "farmer" is used very loosely in many news articles. It would surprise me if very many "true farmers" would call 60 acres on a rocky hillside, with four houses full of someone else's chickens, a farm.

Sincerely,

Jim Riedel

Eagle Rock, Missouri