A coalition intends to file a lawsuit against the nation’s third-largest pork producer, alleging Clean Water Act violations at one of its swine facilities in southeast Iowa.
Garry Klicker, a farmer from Bloomfield, lives about 20 miles away from the operation in Van Buren County, near Keosauqua. A manure spill was reported at the facility November 4th, with thousands of gallons of manure flowing into a creek that drains into the Des Moines River.
Klicker says the Iowa Department of Natural Resources should require the operators to install test wells around the manure lagoons to make sure manure isn’t leaching out into the soil. The D-N-R recently ruled the facility did not need to have a Clean Water Act permit for its nearly 75-hundred sow facility. Klicker says if the “corrupt” state agency won’t police the facility, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and other environmental groups will through the courts.
Klicker says about 20-thousand hogs are being raised within four miles of his house and he blames his asthma condition on the foul air in the area, as he’s never been a smoker.
In 60 days a Fairfield-based attorney working for The Environmental Integrity Project will file the lawsuit on behalf of the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Humane Society of the United States. A statement on the Maschhoffs company website says the firm “is focused on delivering responsible and progressive environmental management to the farm” with “pork operations that are more environmentally friendly than ever.” The Maschhoffs run livestock operations in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, Georgia and Alabama as well as Iowa. The company owns the pigs and provides the feed. Local operators provide the buildings.