|To the Editor: Why is ODA helping factory farm scheme?|
|Written by Vickie Askins|
|Wednesday, 09 January 2013 10:20|
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)
Last week the Ohio Department of Agriculture approved the "final" permit for MSB Dairy Farms, the third owner of a 2,200-head industrial dairy in southern Wood County north of the Elmwood School campus.
Here's a brief history: The first ODA "final" permit for this dairy (Green Dairy) was approved in 2006. The dairy was built in 2008 and an ODA "modified" permit was approved in 2009. In 2010 the dairy was auctioned for defaulting on real estate taxes to a second owner (Onrust Dairy). Over the past few years, banks have foreclosed on other Wood County dairy factory farms as well as dozens more in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. Amazingly, the head of Vreba-Hoff, the developer of these dairy factory farms, is currently being pursued by the FBI for operating a pyramid scheme!
The most significant problem with this permit is that the manure application fields were not disclosed. The ODA claims the operator will be outsourcing all the manure application/disposal so critical field-specific regulations don't apply. While this conveniently protects the dairy from liability if/when manure discharges into a ditch or river, no one knows who will be applying almost 30 million gallons of untreated animal waste each year - or where it will be applied. Wood County Airport fields, Landfill fields, as well as Park District fields were included for manure in previous permits.
Five years ago, the ODA claimed the manure field maps for this dairy were a "trade secret". The Sentinel-Tribune published a stinging editorial condemning the ODA for trying to hide this critical information from public scrutiny. The Wood County Prosecutor's Office threatened the ODA with legal action seeking the release of these records because the Health Department has duties under the law to abate nuisances. This official demand and public outrage forced the ODA to ultimately release the maps.
The ODA is running roughshod over citizens, the law and the environment.
Lake Erie and other Ohio lakes are filling with toxic algae blooms fed by excessive nutrients - and animal manure runoff is considered a leading source. These huge industrial dairies are a threat to our water, health and safety.
I challenge our state and county officials to investigate why the ODA is facilitating this factory farm scheme.
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