To be able to appeal or stop factory farm construction near you, your County Board of Supervisors must adopt the Master Matrix resolution and mail it in by Jan. 31.

 

The “Mater Matrix” is a tool counties can utilize to evaluate proposed factory farm construction sites large enough to require permits.  It’s important as it gives counties the right to appeal factory farm permits and in some cases stop factory farms from being built.

While the master matrix is not local control – it allows counties to comment on and evaluate permit applications and requires that factory farm operators meet higher standards for our environment and community.

Call your county courthouse and tell your supervisors to use the Matrix today!

 

Right now it’s the only defense counties are granted to stop the spread of factory farms.  Counties that choose not to pass the Matrix cannot file formal appeals on permits with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Environmental Protection Commission.

Last year, 89 out of Iowa’s 99 counties passed the construction evaluation resolution in order to use the master matrix. This was the highest number of counties that have passed the resolution. But we need every county to pass it!

1. Call your county courthouse today and ask them to pass the Matrix at their January meeting.

2. Click here for a copy of the Matrix resolution.

3. Follow up to be sure the Matrix construction evaluation resolution gets mailed by Jan. 31 to:

Jerah Sheets, Dept. of Natural Resources
Wallace State Office Building, 502 E 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50319

4. We’re keeping track! Please let us know if your County passes the Master Matrix.

 

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact the Iowa CCI office at 515-282-0484 or iowacci @ iowacci.org.

 

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Congratulations!  We are excited to report that your work has taken a slice of The Nation magazine’s Most Valuable Progressive recognition for the third year in a row.

John Nichol’s writes: “What a difference a year makes! … This year we celebrate the remarkable movements that have arisen not just to stem the conservative tide but to build a new vision of progressivism for the twenty-first century. … The events of 2011 did not transform America. But they did confirm that millions of Americans are ready to fight for the 99 percent.”

Read The Nation’s full Progressive Honor Roll of 2011 here.

Iowa CCI’s recognition below:

MOST VALUABLE CONFRONTATION: Iowa CCI

 

When Mitt Romney came to the Iowa State Fair, he tried to peddle the fantasy that entitlement cuts are needed because the only alternative is to raise taxes on Americans. But his framing of a false choice failed when activists from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement hollered that we should “tax corporations.” Unnerved, Romney shot back, “Corporations are people, my friend.” “No, they’re not!” shouted the Iowa CCI crowd. “Of course they are,” replied Romney, who didn’t seem to realize he was embracing his own stereotype. In 2011 conservative candidates thought they could use Iowa as a backdrop for their extremist pitches. Iowa CCI didn’t let them get away with it—providing a model for how grassroots activists can mic-check even the most powerful politicians.

We’d like to think The Nation feels this way because they know, like we do, that the history of significant change in this country is based on organized action. And organized action is what Iowa CCI does best. Thanks to you our members and supporters for being a part of it.

 

CCI allies made the Honor Roll, too!:

  • The New Bottom Line coalition, of which Iowa CCI is a member, was recognized as Most Valuable Coalition for their work to build a broad and powerful push for a “new bottom line that puts the economic interests and financial security of working American families first” — before Wall Street profit that is.
  • And, Beat the Press, the work of populist economist Dean Baker, who spoke at our statewide convention in July was named Most Valuable News Source.

 

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With Pre-Caucus Focus on GOP Race, Occupy Movement Steps Up Activism in Iowa

 

CCI Executive Director Hugh Espey was interviewed on the Dec. 21, 2011 edition of Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. Watch the video here:

 

From the Democracy Now! website:

The Occupy movement is making its presence felt in Iowa ahead of the Iowa caucus, the nation’s first nominating contest for the 2012 presidential elections. Demonstrators have targeted the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters and the “Obama for America” office in recent days, protesting measures being considered in Washington dealing with defense spending, a planned oil pipeline and jobless benefits. Next they plan to focus on Republicans who will be crisscrossing the state in the next two weeks seeking voters’ support. “We think that we have a right to—a constitutional right to state our purpose and to call for and to address grievances that we have with the government and the corporate control over the government,” says Hugh Espey, the executive director of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a 36-year-old grassroots organization with some 4,000 members. “These sorts of protest are going to continue, until we have a system that puts people before profits and communities before corporations.”

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How President Obama can fix the Housing Crisis and Create Jobs

 

A new report released today by Iowa CCI and the New Bottom Line coalition delivers a win/win way for President Obama administration to fix the housing crisis and create jobs. For Iowa this solution would pump $140 million into our Iowa economy and create 2,000 Iowa jobs.

 

>>Read the report here: “Iowa Underwater: How President Obama Can Fix the Housing Crisis and Create Jobs.”

From the report:

More than 43,000 Iowans have lost their jobs since the start of 2008, and 37,612 are expected to lose their home sby the end of 2012….

 

But the Obama Administration and the banks can do something right now to change all that. Requiring banks to write down all underwater mortgages to market value could:

  • Pump $139,123,396 into Iowa’s economy every year;
  • Create more than 2,056 jobs in Iowa;
  • Save Iowa families an average of $373 per month on mortgage payments;
  • Decisively fix the foreclosure crisis.

…underwater mortgage debt is on of the primary drags on economic recovery.

 

The report, calls on the President to:

  • Allow the state Attorneys General to conduct a full investigation into the fraudulent and illegal activities of the Wall Street banks that caused the foreclosure;
  • Ensure that the big banks are not let off the hook for their crimes. There cannot be a broad release of claims in any current or future settlement talks with the big banks;
  • Require a minimum of $200 – $300 billion from the big banks in principal reduction for underwater homeowners.

“In Des Moines alone, 24 percent all mortgages are underwater,” said CCI member Mike McCarthy of Des Moines, “if President Obama required the banks to fix what they broke and write down the principal on all underwater mortgages to current market value, he could inject a direct cash stimulus into State’s economy of $139,123,396   – at no cost to the taxpayers.

“The banks can afford to write down principal for underwater homeowners and pay restitution to defrauded homeowners,” McCarthy said, “U.S. banks raked in $35 billion in profits this summer alone and are sitting on a historically high level of cash reserves of $1.64 trillion.”

>>Read the new report Iowa Underwater here.

 

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Tell your Supervisors to pass the Matrix!

 

We’ve heard word from a member in Van Buren County that your Board of Supervisors will be voting on the Master Matrix on Monday, Dec. 19 at 1 pm.

In order to use the matrix, Iowa counties must pass a resolution every year and file it with the DNR between January 1 and Saturday, January 31.

The matrix is not local control, however, it allows counties to comment on factory farm permit applications with the DNR having the final say.   Counties have been able to appeal and STOP factory farm permits because they used the Matrix.  Without it, they can not file appeals on permit to the DNR.

Here’s a note from CCI member Lora Conrad on the Van Buren County meeting:

You are receiving this e-mail because I believe you care about the quality of life we have here in Van Buren County. I hope you will be interested in this and will join me at the meeting to support adoption of the master matrix on Monday, December 19th at 1:00 pm.

 

Counties that want to evaluate any proposed sites for confinement facilities that need construction permits MUST notify the DNR by January 31 each year. Last year, 88 Iowa counties filed the construction evaluation resolution, including Van Buren. Hog producers with large confinement facilities (over 2500 hogs) in counties that file the resolution must meet higher standards than sites in counties that do not adopt the matrix. Its not much–it doesn’t stop large CAFOS in most cases—but it is our only legal opportunity for input and can require practices that reduce the impact on the environment and reduce the impact on our communities. Using this matrix process, Van Buren County was able to prevent the construction of a proposed 4800 facility in the past. Because it is a flawed process, we were not able to stop the construction of a CAFO with 2499 hogs because that is currently smaller than the size that must be reviewed. This and other problems must be addressed by our legislators.

 

The Van Buren Supervisors will meet on Monday December 19th, 2011 at 1:00 PM in the Supervisors’ Room in the Court House at which time this issue is on the agenda. All three county supervisors voted for and adopted the matrix for CAFO construction evaluation for 2011. However, do not assume it will pass unless we show that we support its use.

 

Please show your support for the county to continue to adopt the master matrix and have input on site selection. ATTEND THE MEETING if you can to show that we want to keep this matrix. It won’t take long and no speeches will be needed. Just your support. Please come. As we all know, the next large hog confinement could be in our own backyard.

 

If you can not attend, please call or e-mail them . Contact information is below.

 

Mark Meek
tugboat@netins.net
319-592-3199

 

Ted Nixon, Vice Chair
tnixon@netins.net
319-397-2394

 

Marvin Philips, Chair
mmphilipsfarms@gmail.com
641-693-8721
cell 641 919-7448

 

Please tell anyone you know that might support adoption of the matrix about the meeting or forward them this e-mail as the more people that know about this the better.  I hope to see you there Monday!

 

We will post a Matrix resolution for you to take to your county supervisors very soon. Feel free to call us if you need it sooner. Stay tuned!

In the mean time, if you are in Van Buren County – please share this action alert with your friends and family!

Join up with Iowa CCI members and others in Jefferson County to stop a factory farm from expanding two operations.

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, December 22 at 4:00 pm at the Jefferson County Courthouse.  This is a key opportunity to show strong opposition to and challenge weak spots in the construction permit before your elected County Board of Supervisors, the developer and, most times, local press.

 

Here’s the release from Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors:

JFAN has learned that local CAFO operator Ryan Robertson applied for construction permits on November 29, 2011 to expand two existing CAFOs in northeast Jefferson County.

 

The CAFOs are located at 1031 Quince Avenue in Penn Township and 1083 Germantown Road in Walnut Township. Each CAFO presently has two buildings housing a total of 2,490 hogs at each site. The expansions would add an additional 1,200 hogs to each location and entail constructing a new confinement building at each facility. JFAN is sending notification letters to all neighbors within a two-mile radius of the CAFOs.

 

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, December 22 at 4:00 pm at the Jefferson County Courthouse. This provides an opportunity for the public to learn about or comment on any concerns they have about the expansions.

 

At this time, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors plans to review the Master Matrix at Monday’s supervisors meeting, which is open to the public. The meeting will take place at 9:00 am in the Supervisors Office in the Jefferson County Courthouse. JFAN will attend the meeting and obtain a copy of the Master Matrix of both facilities to review.

 

The Master Matrix is a 44-point questionnaire that evaluates how a CAFO’s siting and manure management practices impact the environment and community. Proposed facilities that would house over 2,500 hogs are required to file a Master Matrix, and they must achieve a score of 50% or higher to pass.

 

Based on the Master Matrix and public hearing comments, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors will recommend that the DNR either approve or deny the expansions. The DNR has final authority to approve any construction permits regardless of county input and can disagree with the county’s Master Matrix evaluation. Counties that use the Master Matrix have the option to appeal a preliminary DNR permit approval to the Environmental Protection Commission if they feel a CAFO should not be built or expanded.

 

Ryan Robertson currently operates four CAFOs in Jefferson County and also works as a manure applicator. JFAN is currently reviewing any prior violations incurred by Mr. Robertson.

 

We encourage the community to attend the December 22 public hearing to learn more about these CAFOs and to voice any concerns you may have. Please contact JFAN at 209-6600 or jfan@lisco.com if you have any questions or information about these two CAFO expansions.

 

JFAN will publish this notice with updates on the Master Matrix scoring, if available, in next week’s December 14 Fairfield Weekly Reader.

 

JFAN is a nonprofit, educational foundation that works to protect the quality of life of Jefferson County. We provide community education and support to residents who oppose CAFOs in their neighborhoods.

 

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