July 19, 2017.   Yesterday, we went on offense for clean water. We filed a petition with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to strengthen factory farm rules!

Click here to support the petition and demand stronger rules!

The Master Matrix – a tool used to evaluate factory farm applications – was created by the legislature in 2002 with the promise of giving communities a greater voice in factory farm construction and more protections from factory farm pollution. But, in its fifteen years of existence, that hasn’t happened.

Instead of working for everyday people, the Master Matrix only works for the industry.

We all know it: Iowa is in a water crisis. But, year after year, the legislature has failed to act. Iowans can’t wait any longer.

That’s why on Tuesday, we teamed up with our allies at Food and Water Watch to file a formal rulemaking petition with the DNR to finally strengthen the Master Matrix. We know it’s no substitute for local control or a moratorium, but the Master Matrix is one tool DNR can strengthen right now outside of the legislature to enact meaningful changes that will protect our communities and environment from factory farm pollution.

The DNR has 60 days to respond to our petition. During that time, we want to collect as many comments in support of this petition as possible.

Click here! Show DNR that Iowans demand stronger factory farm rules!

The petition asks for:

  • A higher minimum passing score, requiring applicants to earn more points to obtain a permit;
  • A one-time enrollment for counties, rather than the current burdensome requirement for counties to readopt the Master Matrix every single year;
  • Revisions to the point structure to incentivize practices that prevent or mitigate pollution;
  • New criteria that consider more environmental factors, such as unique topography and existing water pollution impairments;
  • Elimination of criteria that do not provide meaningful environmental or community benefits; and
  • Increased separation distances from things like schools, homes, public use areas, wells, etc.

TAKE ACTION TODAY! Click here to support strengthening the Master Matrix!

This is just one step in our clean water fight. We’ll keep pushing for mandatory – not voluntary – water protections, and a budget where Big Ag – not taxpayers – pays to clean up its pollution.

Together, we can make the changes we need for clean water and healthy communities!

 

Join the 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.

Now is the time to strengthen the Master Matrix.

This tool is supposed to provide better community and environmental protections from factory farm pollution – but that hasn’t happened. Instead, the number of factory farms in Iowa is skyrocketing, while our air, water, and neighbors suffer the consequences.

The Master Matrix is so easy to pass that it has amounted to little more than a rubber stamp. Applicants only need 50 percent – an “F” by most standards – to pass the master matrix, and DNR records show that only 2.2 percent of applications have been denied. In 2007, DNR conducted its own analysis of the Master Matrix and found that many items are practically always used, while other items are hardly used at all.

The industrial livestock industry has grown significantly since the master matrix was first enacted in 2002, and the industry continues to rapidly expand. The Master Matrix is no substitute for local control, but it’s the only tool we have right now.

That’s why next week, Iowa CCI is teaming up with Food and Water Watch to file a formal rulemaking petition to strengthen the Master Matrix.

Make your voice heard!
Join us for the upcoming Environmental Protection Commission
(EPC) meeting to help deliver the petition.

>>>Click here to RSVP<<<

Iowa is in a water quality crisis – but year after year, the legislature has failed to act. We can’t wait any longer. Strengthening the Master Matrix is one thing the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can do right now outside of the legislature to protect our communities and environment.

What: Petition delivery to the EPC and DNR to strengthen factory farms rules
When: Tuesday, July 18 at 9 AM
Where: CCI Headquarters (2001 Forest Avenue, Des Moines)
Register: Click here to let us know you’re attending.

This spring, Iowa CCI toured the state and met with over 100 Iowans to discuss what changes they’d like to see in the Master Matrix. We used this input in the petition.

What the petition asks for:

  • A higher minimum passing score, requiring applicants to earn more of the possible points to obtain a permit.
  • A one-time enrollment for counties, rather than the current burdensome requirement for counties to readopt the master matrix every year.
  • Revisions to the point structure to incentivize practices that prevent or mitigate pollution.
  • New criteria that consider factors currently unaddressed by the matrix, such as karst topography, existing water pollution impairments, and water quality monitoring.Elimination of criteria that do not provide meaningful environmental or community benefits.
  • Changes to strengthen existing criteria, such as increased separation distances from schools, homes, public use areas, waterways, and wells.

The Master Matrix shouldn’t just work for the factory farm industry – it should work for us.

Help us deliver the rulemaking petition to strengthen the Master Matrix and crack down on factory farms.

Why you need to be there:

  1. No matter where you live—urban or rural—the Master Matrix affects you.
  2. Now is not the time to sit on the sidelines. Stand up for our water and communities.
  3. Strength in numbers! Show EPC and DNR that Iowans demand stronger factory farm rules.
  4. We can’t wait any longer. This is one thing DNR can change right now outside of the legislature.

Sign up today, and see you there!

 

Join the 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.

Iowans are banding together to stop a new hog factory by Reicks View Farms in Howard County.

At 2,499 head of hogs, the confinement is one hog under the permit threshold, thereby skirting the Master Matrix. The factory farm is proposed on karst terrain in an environmentally fragile area known for sinkholes, and it’s located near the headwaters of a naturally producing trout stream. It is about a mile from an estimated 40 neighbors, century farms, and an Amish community.

This isn’t the first time Reicks View Farms has done this.

In June 2016, the Des Moines Register reported that Reicks View Farms had applied to build a 7,499 hog facility in Allamakee County. However, after intense local opposition, the developer reapplied for a confinement at 2,499 hogs – which prevented county supervisors from reviewing the application. Highlighting that building at the proposed site was ill advised, Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp stated that “if a livestock confinement facility could be built on the proposed site, there is no place in Iowa one could not be built.

Now, the group of concerned citizens in Howard County are organizing to yet again to stop Reicks View Farms from building just one hog under the permit threshold on karst terrain. Residents are aware of sinkholes not shown on DNR’s map, but after being repeatedly asked, DNR has not agreed to revisit the area.

“This land should not have any factory farms on it. Karst terrain is like a sponge,” said Joann Wangen of Cresco, Iowa. “We want to protect our water. The smell of the confinement is going to be bad enough, but we’ll have a crisis if we don’t have our water.”

Help stop Reicks View Farms! Here’s what you can do:

  1. Write a letter to the editor.
    We need tell more people about this fight!
  2. Call Dale and Brady Reicks at (641) 364-7843.
    Ask them to withdraw their application.
  3. Call DNR Director Chuck Gipp at (515) 725-8282.
    Demand that Director Gipp visit the proposed site and meet with the community. He has the power to stop this.

Join the 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.

April 6, 2017

Iowa CCI members across the state have come together for five community meetings to discuss ways to strengthen the Master Matrix – one of the few tools counties and citizens have to weigh in on factory farm construction. Due to member interest, an additional two community meetings have been scheduled in Ottumwa and Davenport to gather input.

So far, everyday Iowans have identified several key items to address within the Master Matrix, including:

  • greater separation distances,
  • stronger environmental regulations,
  • revisions to the point structure, and
  • requiring all facilities – not just some – to use the Master Matrix.

Illustrating the failings of the Master Matrix, factory farm operators are allowed to skirt permit thresholds in order to avoid additional scrutiny. Last month in Cerro Gordo County, the DNR approved Wharam Creek Poultry’s 98,000 head chicken confinement – just shy of the permit threshold that requires using the Master Matrix. Following approval of the new Simply Essentials chicken processing plant in Charles City, the area has seen nine other chicken factory farm applications that are also just below the permit threshold.

Iowa CCI is looking for more input on the Master Matrix. This will be used to pressure the Department of Natural Resources to make significant and meaningful changes to the Master Matrix, in light of inaction from Iowa’s legislature.

 

Find a community meeting new you!

Saturday, April 8 at 9:30 to 11:00 AM
Le Mars Public Library
46 1st St SW, Le Mars, IA
RSVP here.

Thursday, April 20 at 6:30 to 8:00 PM (NEW)
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities
3707 Eastern Ave, Davenport, IA
RSVP here.

Thursday, May 4 at 6:30 to 8:00 PM (NEW)
St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church
216 N Court St, Ottumwa, IA
RSVP here.

 

Join the 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.

 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement has scheduled a tour of community meetings across the state to gather input from Iowans on how to strengthen the Master Matrix. The first stop on the tour was in Charles City on March 2. Twenty community members from Floyd, Cerro Gordo, Mitchell, and Howard counties attended the meeting to brainstorm how the Master Matrix could better protect their communities and environment from factory farm pollution.

The Master Matrix is one of the few tools counties and citizens have to weigh in on factory farm construction. However, it is far from perfect and doesn’t go far enough in protecting Iowans or the environment from factory farm pollution. Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to learn more and discuss the Master Matrix, as well as provide input on how it should change.

Counties across the state are beginning to take a stand on factory farms. In January, Allamakee and Winneshiek counties passed resolutions calling for a suspension on factory farm construction until the Legislature fixed the Master Matrix. Floyd County passed a similar resolution that called for changes to the Master Matrix. In late 2016, Webster and Pocahontas counties wrote letters to legislators and the Iowa DNR calling for a moratorium and more local control. This shows growing momentum for local control and a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms in Iowa.

Questions? Contact Erica at EricaB@iowacci.org. And check out our calendar to RSVP to these upcoming meetings!

Master Matrix Community Meetings Tour

Wednesday, March 15 at 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Hotel Greenfield
110 E Iowa St, Greenfield, IA
RSVP

Tuesday, March 21 at 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Lohrville Public Library
609 2nd Ave, Lohrville, IA
RSVP

Thursday, March 30 at 6:00 to 7:30 PM
Ames Public Library, PEO Room
515 Douglas Ave, Ames, IA
RSVP

Tuesday, April 4 at 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Solon Public Library
320 W Main St, Solon, IA
RSVP

Saturday, April 8 at 9:30 to 11:00 AM
Le Mars Public Library
46 1st St SW, Le Mars, IA
RSVP

Join the 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.

 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

This morning, the Floyd County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that petitions the Governor and Iowa Legislature to fix the failings of the Master Matrix. Mark Kuhn, a former Iowa state representative who helped develop the Master Matrix, introduced the resolution.

“The Master Matrix is a joke,” said Marilyn Jorgensen of Rudd and an Iowa CCI member. “It has done nothing to really protect the environment or the community. It’s just smoke and mirrors to make it look like the industry is doing its job. In reality, factory farms are running roughshod over our neighbors, our water, and our air.”

This makes Floyd the third county in Iowa to pass such a resolution. Allamakee and Winneshiek counties also passed similar resolutions recently calling for not only changes to the Master Matrix, but also a suspension on factory farm construction. Late last year, both Webster and Pocahontas counties wrote letters to legislators and the DNR calling for a moratorium on factory farms and changes to the Master Matrix. In addition, Johnson County wrote a letter to legislators and the DNR calling for more local control.

“This industry is out of control, and people across the state are fed up,” said Erica Blair, an organizer for Iowa CCI. “Changing the Master Matrix is a good step toward cleaning up Iowa’s water, but that alone won’t get us there. We need mandatory, not voluntary, regulations. And Big Ag, not taxpayers, should pay to clean up their own mess.”

At the end of this month, Iowa CCI will begin a series of community meetings across the state to hear what changes Iowans want to be made to the Master Matrix.

Join the Fight!

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