I am a deeply concerned about this county’s lack of action regarding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.
Montgomery County currently has no zoning regulations in place for industrial farms, which is unacceptable given their scale and potential impact on Montgomery County communities.
While the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has instituted requirements for CAFOs at the state level, these rules represent a low hurdle and are meant to serve as a floor, not a ceiling when it comes to industrial farming regulation.
As a home rule state, local CAFO zoning regulations are crucial in protecting community health, preserving property values, and maintaining the integrity of vital community natural resources such as air quality, wildlife, and surface and groundwater resources.
I am pleased that the county has chosen to convene a group of public stakeholders to research the issue of county CAFO zoning and report back to the commission with its findings in October.
However, until a CAFO zoning ordinance is officially adopted, any CAFO in Montgomery County that gains approval will not have to abide by these new zoning protections.
For example, an 8,800 hog CAFO called Bowlder Ridge is in the process of collecting all of its approvals before it breaks ground just 3 miles outside of Linden. If it gets fully approved before our citizen task force has the chance to weigh-in, this huge operation will be free to go against the will of the community and the citizens of Linden will be robbed of the new protections that the CAFO ordinance grants to the rest of the county.
This is why the county must adopt a county-wide moratorium on all new CAFOs until CAFO zoning regulations can be designed and adopted.
I urge both the Montgomery County Commissioners and the Montgomery County Planning Commission to propose and adopt such a moratorium. Adopting a moratorium is the logical thing to do at this point in the timeline and is necessary if the county truly wants this process to be fair and effective.
I urge all Montgomery County citizens to join me in contacting the county commissioners and demand that they do the right thing and institute a CAFO moratorium.
The county commissioners can be reached at 765-361-2623. If you would like to make this request in person, the Montgomery County Commissioners meet at 8 a.m. on the second and fourth Mondays in Room 103 in the Montgomery County Courthouse. There is a planning board meeting at the courthouse Aug. 28. Please be present to express concerns.