Please take action at the Illinois Environmental Council page here!
This legislative session ICCAW is working with citizens and farmers from across our state to finally pass common sense legislation that will protect Illinois rural communities, waters, and soil from industrial livestock operation pollution.
We encourage you to support two recent bills that have been introduced – SB1272 and SB1273 (Koehler). SB1272 will require all new large livestock facilities to file waste management plans as part of the initial siting and construction permitting process with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. SB1273 will require all existing medium and large concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs to report their existence to the Illinois EPA and file/update basic information with the Agency on an annual basis, including their waste management plans if they have them.
This is common sense legislation that is long overdue in Illinois. Most of the other states in the country have similar and in many cases, much more stringent requirements already in place.
Education is needed about the misinformation campaign that has been initiated by opponents against these bills.
These are THE FACTS:
FACT: IEPA has failed to develop an adequate inventory of CAFOs despite repeated promises to do so over the years. In the 39 counties ICCAW has examined, there are 204 large CAFOs shown in the IEPA inventory. However, our research has located a total of 467 large CAFOs, giving the IEPA a lowly 44% accuracy score.
FACT: Requiring waste plans to be submitted and approved as part of the initial permitting process is important, not redundant and is required in all other states. The Illinois livestock industry produces millions of tons of raw waste annually and it should be accounted for. Livestock waste is one of the biggest polluters of surface waters in the state, yet there are no checks and balances of where this manure is ending up. All of the surrounding states to Illinois require their CAFOs to submit waste management plans as part of their permitting approval processes and those state regulatory agencies (and the public) have the ability to demand accountability in waste management through their permitting processes.
FACT: It is unknown how many CAFOs in Illinois have waste management plans and if those plans are adequate. Currently, Illinois only requires a very small percentage of CAFOs to submit their waste management plans to regulators for review and approval prior to operation. Most of these required plans never see the light of day and therefore it is unknown if a vast majority of CAFOs in Illinois even have them and/or if they do have them if they are adequate. Regulators, elected officials, and the public should have the right and ability to review, approve and appeal inadequate plans prior to CAFOs going into operation – just as is required of any other industry. Responsible producers should already have such plans developed and be following them. Therefore, it should not be a burden for those operators to simply provide those plans as part of the permitting or registration process with IDOA or IEPA.
FACT: Giving citizens or counties rights to appeal IDOA decisions will NOT create a chilling effect on new CAFO permits in the state. Citizen standing to appeal Department of Agriculture permitting was for the first time called into question back in 2008 in a case filed by Jo Daviess County Citizens against the Department and a California dairy developer in Helping Others Maintain Envtl. Standards v. Bos, 406 Ill.App.3d 669, 346 Ill.Dec. 789, 941 N.E.2d 347, 367 (Ill.App.2010). This was the first time the Department ever challenged the standing of citizens’ to call into question permitting decisions. The trial court and eventually the appeals court held in favor of the Department. However, prior to the HOMES case, no such challenges were made and citizen standing had never been called into question. There was no chilling effect on permitting prior to the HOMES case and nothing to suggest that correcting flaws in the law, which have been identified by the courts since the HOMES case would cause such.
FACT: Claims by the industry that giving county boards any local authority over permitting would have any kind of chilling effect on CAFOs is in contradiction to what evidence of history tells us.
Rarely do county boards ever give negative recommendations on new facility proposals. This is evidenced by documents obtained by ICCAW via the Freedom of Information Act from the Department of Agriculture evaluating every county board recommendation on new livestock facility proposals since the enactment of the Illinois Livestock Management Facilities Act.
FACT: IDOA admits they do not even know where all of the Illinois livestock farms are located because many were built before the state began requiring pre-approval in 1996.
FACT: Recent claims made by the IEPA about solving water pollution problems by “educating the producers’’ makes little sense. First, producers should already know the rules if they are certified livestock managers. Second, IEPA does not know where all of the CAFOs are located, so how can the agency educate them?