Legislator’s bills target CAFOs

CAFOBy Bob Eschliman


State Rep. Dan Kelley (D-Newton) offered more than a dozen bills this week in the run-up to the first legislative funnel deadline. Many of them are related to environmental concerns, but two in particular target large-scale animal feeding operations in Iowa.

House File 483 would makes changes to property taxation provisions of the Iowa Code relating to property that is exempt from property tax, specifically “pollution-control property used to control or abate air or water pollution or alternatively to enhance air or water quality.” The bill would establish that property used for maintaining animals as part of a confined animal feeding operation – except those used in small-animal feeding – are not included in the definition of pollution-control property.

If enacted, the new provisions would apply to assessment years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

House File 489 would allow the application of manure originating from an animal feeding operation on saturated ground, unless it is liquid manure originating from a confined animal feeding operation. In that case, the bill prohibits application on saturated ground, as well as on frozen or snow-covered ground, regardless of the season.

Current law only restricts land application except during a specific period of time during the winter and early spring months. The restriction is exempted for “emergency situations.” Kelley’s bill appears to remove that exemption.

HF 489 also requires a 24-hour delay if the National Weather Service forecasts rain. It also prohibits application of liquid manure from a confined animal feeding operation on land with a grade that exceeds 20 percent.

The proposed legislation’s prohibitions do not apply if the manure originates from a small-animal feeding operation, or if the manure is injected or incorporated.


Hiking littering fines

This week, Kelley also filed a bill that would increase – substantially – the scheduled fines for littering in Iowa.

House File 497 provides that a person who litters will be fined at least $250. Under current law, the fine for littering – a simple misdemeanor – shall be at least $65, but not more than $625. Currently, the fine for littering on a highway is $70, and $30 in state parks and preserves.