Cerro Gordo supervisors ask again for DNR to look at Master Matrix

MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors today on a two-to-one vote approved sending a letter (see below) to Iowa Department of Natural Resources director Chuck Gipp requesting that state environmental leaders make changes in the “master matrix” system that scores potential animal feeding operations.

The letter supports the rulemaking petition filed on July 18th by the environmental groups Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food & Water Watch to strengthen the master matrix.

Supervisor Tim Latham says the time has come to revisit the issue since the legislature did not address it during the 2017 session. He says they are asking for the DNR to look at the petition and make changes in the master matrix that will improve water and air quality.

Latham says it’s an issue DNR leaders need to address. He says, “I’m not asking for a moratorium, just that we support the petition in the fact of having them revisit the master matrix.”

The supervisors passed a similar resolution back at their April 18th meeting. Supervisor Casey Callanan voted against sending the letter to the DNR without making any comment. At the time of the supervisors’ April vote, Callanan said their non-binding vote would have no beneficial impact whatsoever, saying that solutions in government were best addressed in working with all parties involved.

The 44-question master matrix survey is used in 88 of Iowa’s 99 counties to evaluate the siting of permitted confinement feeding operations. Producers in counties that have adopted the matrix must meet higher standards than other permitted facilities. The applicants must earn points on the matrix for choosing sites and using practices that reduce adverse impacts on the environment and the community, with producers having 50-percent of the total score and at least 25-percent of the available points in each of the three subcategories of air, water, and community impacts to pass.


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