Iowa CCI members, residents in Clay and Wayne counties celebrate and demand moratorium on new factories
Des Moines, Iowa – On Monday, Iowa CCI members and everyday Iowans celebrated as Iowa Select — the largest hog corporation in Iowa and 8th largest nationally — withdrew permit applications for two massive hog factories in Wayne and Clay counties. Both applications, which were overwhelmingly opposed by local residents and county supervisors, were likely to be appealed at the October meeting of the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC).

Locally organized opposition

Residents of Wayne County organized opposition, including a meeting with DNR director Chuck Gipp where over 100 neighbors demanded DNR deny the site, wrote letters to the editor, and successfully convinced their county supervisors to fail the Master Matrix and recommend denial to the DNR.  The DNR overturned the Wayne County Supervisors’ decision.  Wayne County appealed DNR’s approval of the factory farm, and a public hearing before the EPC was scheduled in October.

“We’re celebrating this big victory, but we know that Iowa Select will try to reapply.  We are relentless, and we’ll be ready.  We don’t want any factory farms and we will fight any that Iowa Select proposes to build,” said Pam Woollis, CCI member and resident of Wayne County.

In Clay County, local residents also organized, gathered petition signatures, and convinced their supervisors to recommend denial of the site, which again was overturned by the DNR.  Clay County’s Board of Supervisors was set to vote on appealing DNR’s approval of the factory farm at its meeting today.

“We are overjoyed at Iowa Select’s decision to not build their large hog factory beside our family. However, more importantly, the health of other farm familes and small towns is endangered by Iowa’s lack of regulations to protect the public health and our air and water,” said Sarah Lewis, who fought the 5,000-head factory farm near Spencer, Iowa. “We encourage our Supervisors to make Clay County the 18th Iowa county to call for a moratorium or changes to the Master Matrix until adequate regulations are implemented to protect our environment and familes.”

Iowa Select avoids scrutiny

“In its written notice to the Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Select cited several reasons for withdrawing, but we believe it’s because they are feeling public pressure and know that these appeals would further illustrate the failings of the Master Matrix,” said Erica Blair, community organizer with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI).

According to DNR’s construction review activity database, Iowa Select has seven pending facilities across the state in Grundy, Hancock, Hardin, Humboldt, Buena Vista, and Greene counties.  CCI has received calls from residents of several of these counties asking how they can fight the incoming factory farms.

Iowa Select has a long violation history, including at least 150 manure or ammonia releases polluting air and water, according to DNR’s facility spill database.

“Iowa Select creates new LLCs, allowing the company to avoid scrutiny of past violations, making it difficult to know the true number of spills and violations,” said Patti Naylor, a CCI member and family farmer who lives in Greene County, where supervisors just approved a 7,490-head Iowa Select factory farm.  “They’ve become experts at using the Master Matrix to their own advantage.”

This news comes as many scandals are coming to the surface for DNR.  CCI members point to the EPC and DNR’s dismissal of the Master Matrix petition, former DNR employee Gene Tinker’s claim that he was fired for educating counties about the Master Matrix, and DNR’s discovery of over 5,000 additional factory farms in Iowa.

“It’s clear that we need a moratorium from this polluting industry. Our DNR, legislature, and Governor need to work for all of Iowans,” added Naylor.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a statewide, grassroots people’s action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics and polluters. CCI has been fighting to put people first for over 40 years. Follow us on Twitter at @iowacci.

A a new Statehouse bill (HF 316) would dismantle the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) board and distribute the utility’s assets to surrounding cities – which would kill the DMWW’s lawsuit.

But here’s the kicker: We’ve heard Des Moines City Council supports the bill and even helped draft it. They turned their backs on their own constituents and caved to corporate ag interests.

TAKE ACTION: 

  • ADD YOUR NAME – to show strong opposition to this bad move
  • RSVP NOW for Thursday 2/23 – an emergency community meeting with Bill Stowe and DMWW Board President Graham Gillette. 

HF 316 is another anti-local control, anti-local democracy measure designed to silence fearless truth-tellers like Bill Stowe and quell the growing citizen demand to crack down on corporate ag and factory farm polluters.

We’ve seen what happens to our water when elected officials side with corporate interests instead of everyday people — it looks like Flint, Michigan.

But CCI members aren’t ones to stand by and just let things happen. RSVP to join us here.

What:     Emergency CCI Clean Water organizing meeting with

                  Bill Stowe and DMWW President Graham Gillette

When:    Thursday, February 23 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Where:   Iowa CCI Headquarters, 2001 Forest Ave, Des Moines

 

Join us Thursday to learn more – RSVP here.

 

This bill is an obvious Farm Bureau power grab.  We’re hearing lots of excuses about why we should compromise and support this bill.  Here’s how you can respond.

Don’t Dismantle the Des Moines Water Works Talking Points

 About the bill, HF 316:

  • HF 316 would dismantle the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) board and distribute the utility’s assets and power to surrounding cities – which would kill the DMWW’s lawsuit.
  • HF 316 is another anti-local control, anti-local democracy measure designed to silence fearless truth-tellers like Bill Stowe and quell the growing citizen demand to crack down on corporate ag and factory farm polluters.
  • This bill is purely a retribution bill. They are trying to shut down a meaningful attempt to hold corporate ag polluters accountable under the Clean Water Act.
  • A corporate ag shill, Rep Jarad Klein from Keota (not DES MOINES), introduced this bill and is trying to call the shots for Des Moines residents. Klein has taken over $20,000 from corporate ag groups in recent years.
  • Four lobbyists, hired by the city of Des Moines, also represent the Iowa Drainage District Association. The Des Moines Water Works lawsuit directly  ties in with the drainage districts in Buena Vista, Calhoun, and Sac counties where this lawsuit stemmed from.

 

Des Moines City Council demands and talking points:

  • 4 members of the Des Moines City Council support the bill. Shame on City Council members that support this Farm Bureau power grab over their own constituents. There has never been a public vote on this issue.
  • We’ve heard Des Moines’s own City Councilor Christine Hensley – on the board of Farm Bureau’s front group “Partnership for Clean Water” – is colluding with Big Ag to push and draft this bill. That ain’t right.
  • Withdraw your support.  We want to know which of you are siding with corporate ag.

 

Clean Water talking points:

  • Iowa has 754 impaired waterways in 2014 – up 15% from 2012. And, Des Moines Water Works had to run it denitrification machine 177 days in 2015.
  • Iowa has over 9,000 factory farms that produce 22 billion gallons of manure.
  • We need mandatory regulations, not voluntary. The Des Moines Water Works lawsuit seeks mandatory regulations through the Clean Water Act.
  • We’ve seen what happens to our water when elected officials side with corporate interests instead of everyday people — it looks like Flint, Michigan.

Take Action

  • ADD YOUR NAME – to show strong opposition to this bad move
  • RSVP NOW for Thursday 2/23 – an emergency community meeting with Bill Stowe and DMWW Board President Graham Gillette.

Join the Clean Water Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight.
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

LIKE & SHARE for a clean water Iowa: 

Lots of us recreate on lakes with friends and family. For hours at a time, we boat, canoe and kayak. Needless to say, we congregate there.

But the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) doesn’t see it that way.

In their recent revisions to factory farm rules, the DNR decided lakes are no longer considered a “public use area.” They erased the word “lakes” from the definition, meaning factory farms can build even closer to these precious water bodies.

Why would DNR do this, you ask?

As revealed by Iowa CCI’s Freedom of Information Act request, the change was made at the behest of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. That’s right: the very industry DNR is charged with regulating.

It’s clear as day that Gov. Branstad’s DNR isn’t working for the people of Iowa and certainly isn’t protecting our natural resources. All Iowans should be up in arms about this deliberate decision to weaken factory farm rules at the expense of our water and communities. The continual deregulation of this industry leaves us with no choice but to call for a moratorium on any new or expanding factory farms!

Published in the Marshalltown Times Republican.

What a beautiful day yesterday!

In the largest act of civil disobedience on the pipeline issue in Iowa to date, 28 everyday Iowans took an arrest blocking the roadways into Dakota Access’s worker staging area outside of Boone.

Over 150 of you were there to send a powerful message to Dakota Access and other decision makers that resistance to the Bakken pipeline – from North Dakota through Iowa – is strong and growing.

We gathered to say NO to Big Oil, and to stand up for our land, water and democracy. Thank you to everyone who drove from near and far to make today a huge success.

>>Check out photos from the day here and stay tuned for more planned actions.

BUT we need you with us this Friday when we meet Dakota Access head on in court to determine whether Big Oil can restrict our right to future protests and acts of civil disobedience.

Can you join us? Meet us Friday at the CCI headquarters (2001 Forest Ave, Des Moines) at 12:30 as we prepare to head downtown to the U.S. District Court to tell Dakota Access and the public that we won’t be silenced. RSVP here.

Again, bold action doesn’t come without a cost. We anticipate our legal fees for fighting Dakota Access in court will cost between $5,000 -$10,000. Chip in here to help with legal fees.

I’m inspired. I hope you are, too. This may be our first act of peaceful civil disobedience on the Bakken pipeline, but it won’t be our last.

Onward!

Adam Mason
State Policy Organizing Director

P.S. A fundraiser page to support bail and other legal fees for those arrested will be posted soon. Stay tuned.

LIKE and SHARE to say #NoBakken

Dear pipeline/clean water/climate justice fighters,

I won’t beat around the bush – the next step in our fight to stop the Bakken Pipeline is a big one, and not one we take lightly.

For only the second time in our 41 year history, we are encouraging the use of civil disobedience and mass arrest as a key tactic in our pipeline fight.

This tactic has been used successfully in landmark movements in history, and was a key reason activists successfully to stopped the Keystone XL pipeline.

And – over the course of the last two weeks – our native sisters and brothers of the Lakota/Dakota Standing Rock Sioux have used arrests to successfully blockade the Bakken Pipeline on their reservation in North Dakota, where the number of supporters has swelled to 5,000.

It’s time we join them. That’s why I’m asking you to join me in a non-violent civil disobedience blockade and demonstration next Wednesday.

WHAT: NO Bakken Pipeline Non-violence Training & Blockade Demonstration

WHEN: Wednesday, August 31

Non-violent Civil Disobedience Training: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Rally & Blockade action: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. (approx. time)

WHERE: Community Hall in Pilot Mound (near Boone): 112 Pilot St., Pilot Mound, IA 50223 (map)

I have two asks. Where do you fit in?

  1. Are you willing to take an arrest to stop the Bakken Pipeline?
    We need you in Pilot Mound at 9 AM for civil disobedience training and planning. Training and getting to know your fellow activists is key to making this successful. Click here to RSVP for the civil disobedience training.
  1. “Taking an arrest” not your thing, or you can’t do it on this particular day? We still need you with us on Wed, Aug. 31.
    A large show of support to rally the civil disobedience team also demonstrates strong, growing resistance to decision makers and the media. Use this link to RSVP for the afternoon demonstration.

We are 100% committed to a powerful show of peaceful resistance. We are in this together with our allies at Bold Iowa. And, are part of a growing global movement to stop this pipeline and end our reliance on fossil fuels.  Now is the time to take this big step forward in our fight for People & Planet.

Use the links above to let me know you’re in, and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Thanks for all you do,
Adam
State Policy Director

P.S. Donate today. Chip in to support this bold step in our #NoBakken fight.

 

LIKE and TWEET to say #NOBakken #NoDAPL

Update:

Iowa DNR rejected Cerro Gordo Supervisors request to deny a construction permit for a 4,992 head facility proposed by River Edge Farms, LLC.  Cerro Gordo Supervisors are standing strong with the factory farm fighters  and have filed an appeal with the Environmental Protection Commission.  Click here for more details on the appeal.

Over 60 CCI members in attendance push supervisors to recommend DNR denial of 5,000 head factory farm proposal

Des Moines, IA – Members of the grassroots community organizing group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) and other community members celebrated a Cerro Gordo county supervisors’ vote Tuesday (8/16/16) recommending denial of a 5,000 head factory farm. The unanimous vote followed testimony that was overwhelmingly opposed to the proposal.

“Today’s vote sends a strong message to this industry: Factory Farms aren’t welcome in North Central Iowa,” said Iowa CCI member Phyllis Willis of Fertile, IA. “We’ll continue to organize for clean air, clean water family farms, and healthy communities”

The move by Cerro Gordo supervisors follows the Mason City council vote to turn down a massive slaughterhouse by Prestage Fams, the nation’s 5th largest corporate hog producer, as well as at least eight other counties that have taken a stand against factory farm expansion in their county. This includes “No” votes in Allamakee, Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Hardin, Webster, Dickinson, and Greene counties. Johnson County supervisors weighed in strongly against an under-permitted site in recent weeks.

“It’s great to see more county supervisors standing with their voters instead of corporate ag.” said Iowa CCI member and family farmer Larry Ginter from Rhodes, IA. “Factory farms have tried to paint themselves as good neighbors but they just aren’t. They have been destroying our communities’ air, water, and quality of life for the last 20 years.”

The vote in Cerro Gordo County comes just days before members of the statewide people-power organization will be voicing their opposition to a proposed $11 million corporate handout package to Prestage Farms at the Iowa Economic Development Agency (IEDA).

“This is typical of big business: come in and demand millions of dollars in incentives under the guise of creating jobs.” said Iowa CCI board president Cherie Mortice. “But we see through it for what it really is: a race to the bottom. We want our government to work for everyday folks, not big business.”

“All Prestage will really be bringing to Iowa is more factory farms, more pollution, and more costs to taxpayers to clean up their mess. We have too many factory farms already. We need a moratorium now.” added Mortice.

The meeting Thursday is open to the press and to the public. A summary of the proposed award can be found here.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a statewide, grassroots people’s action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics, and polluters. Iowa CCI has been fighting to put people first for over 40 years.

Join the Fight

Factory farm proposing to build near you? Have concerns about an existing facility? We can work with you and your community to fight back and stand up for clean air and water and your quality of life.

LIKE and TWEET to stand against factory farms