July 8, 2014
FACTORY FARM DEVELOPER IS NO-SHOW AT MEETING – NEIGHBORS BRING MEETING TO HIS HOUSE
Factory Farm Being Built By Branstad Donor & EPC Appointee Would Sit Between Two Creeks That Feed Into The Des Moines River Two Miles Away
Fifty Boone County CCI members took their meeting to Brodie Brelsford’s house, developer of a giant hog confinement that would house 2,480 corporate hogs and produce over 630,000 gallons of toxic liquid manure annually, after he failed to show up at a community meeting.
The factory farm would be operated by Dallas County resident Brodie Brelsford but the facility would actually be built by Brent Rastetter, a top political donor to Governor Terry Branstad and a Branstad-appointee to the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC). The submitted Manure Management Plan does not state what corporation will actually own the hogs.
Many of the neighbors were upset that Brodie didn’t show up for the meeting. They feel that he doesn’t care about their concerns about quality of life, health and environmental impacts.
A caravan of over 20 cars traveled from the meeting near the Des Moines River to a golf course community in Perry where Brodie Brelsford lives. After knocking on the door with no answer, neighbors of the proposed confinement posted their letter to his door demanding he cease construction immediately.
Jan Danilson, another nearby neighbor and CCI member said: “We live on a century farm that has been in my husband’s family for over 100 years. It’s our legacy. I want it to be a beautiful place, like it is now, in 20 years when I can give it to my children and grandchildren. We don’t want his factory farm.”
Danielle Wirth, a CCI member, neighbor, and Environmental Science Professor at Drake University, said: “One of our biggest concerns if this factory farm builds are the environmental impacts. This site sits in between Eversol Creek and Catum Branch Creek which meet up with the Des Moines River less than 2 miles away. This site could have a direct impact on the Des Moines Water Works ability to keep Des Moines residents water safe to drink.”
Mark Edwards, retired DNR Trails Coordinator said: “I’m very concerned about the impacts from this factory farm and other factory farms affecting the expanding recreational economy related to the High Trestle Bridge and the master plan to develop other trails along the Des Moines River in Boone County.”
2 years ago CCI members in Dallas County stopped Brodie’s dad, Mike Brelsford, from building a 5,000 head factory farm near Minburn. Mike Brelsford said community concerns were the reason he withdrew his application. Boone County neighbors are upset because Brodie Brelsford didn’t ask for neighbors concerns or even tell them he was starting construction.
The Brelsfords are utilizing a loophole in DNR factory farm permitting that allows construction of a factory farm under 2,500 head of hogs without notification of neighbors or a public hearing with the county. If built, Brodie’s factory farm would house 2,480 hogs – just 20 hogs under the permit threshold.
Iowa CCI members are in the middle of a seven-year campaign to enforce the Clean Water Act against Iowa factory farms and has called on Environmental Protection Commission member Brent Rastetter to recuse himself from an upcoming vote on new Clean Water Act rules because of a conflict of interest. Rastetter owns Quality Ag, Inc as well as factory farms housing more than 9,000 hogs.
Local CCI members in several Central Iowa counties have fought new factory farm construction by Rastetter in the last two years.
There have been more than 728 manure spills since 1996 and Iowa currently has at least 630 polluted waterways. Iowa’s more than 20 million hogs produce nearly 10 billion gallons of toxic waste every year.
Iowa CCI 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 Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. With thousands of members from all walks of life — urban and rural, black and white, immigrants and lifelong Iowans — CCI has been tackling tough issues and getting things done for more than 39 years.
For more information, visit www.iowacci.org