Senator Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center/Mendota) continues to spread misinformation about the Baker Dairy, implying that the citizens board made a "metro" decision to oppress rural residents. It's not an urban versus rural issue.
Instead, the citizens board listened to dozens of pages of comments from Stevens County residents.
Here's a pdf of the comments that the MPCA Citizens' Board members read in advance of their meeting:
Contrast those statements from Stevens County residents with Senator Rosen's remarks reported in an Agrinews article by Janet Kubat Willette, Property taxes, transportation top legislative agenda:
Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, said she doesn't think there's lot of disagreement on key issues, rather the issues are rural v. metro. Metropolitan legislators have a large learning curve when it comes to rural Minnesota, she said, whereas rural legislators are aware of metropolitan issues.
Permitting will be an issue, particularly where a citizens board ruling can trump an agency decision, Rosen said.
As is obvious from the comments to the MPCA, there's no agreement about this dairy in Stevens County, regardless of how often Senator Rosen asserts none exists.
Indeed, our sources tell Bluestem that members of the Senate Rural Task Force heard a great deal of disagreement with Senator Rosen's assertions from rural Minnesotans after Land Stewardship Project (LSP) issued an action alert asking Minnesotans to contact the senators on the Task Force.
Read more about the issue in Local Control & Environmental Review of Factory Farms Under Attack Even Before the MN Legislative Session Begins at LSP's website. Land Stewardship Project operates two field offices in Lewiston (rural southeast Minnesota) and Montevideo (rural west central Minnesota). We are unable to consider our neighbors who are farmer members here in Chippewa, Swift and Big Stone County as "metro."
Willette's article continues:
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Citizens' Board voted Aug. 26 to require an Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed 8,850 cow dairy in Stevens County. MPCA staff prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet and recommended that an EIS wasn't necessary.
As a result of the decision, the dairy, which has operations in western Minnesota and South Dakota, will build this facility in South Dakota, Rosen said.
We're checking on this claim, as we can find no information that the dairy is going to be built in South Dakota. Indeed, Riverview Dairy is going ahead with another dairy in Kandiyohi County, as Carolyn Lange reported in an article published in Prairie Business, 8,800-head dairy OKed for operation west of Willmar:
Construction of an 8,800-animal-unit dairy operation will begin next spring west of Willmar, Minn.
Meadow Star Dairy, which is owned by Riverview LLP based in Morris, was granted a conditional use permit earlier this month by St. Johns Township.. . .
The final piece came this year when the dairy industry took a sharp turn upward. The positive economy and Riverview’s over-abundance of dairy heifers made the timing right to build a new facility in Kandiyohi County, Fehr said.
“We have cows and we need a home for them,” Fehr said.
Following a public hearing on Nov. 7 in Pennock, the permit for Meadow Star Dairy was unanimously approved by the township.
Riverview Dairy is also pursuing a large dairy project in Traverse County which was permitted by the MPCA in July 2009 [pdf here]. PDFs of the Traverse County Board of Commissioners minutes in which the Dollymount Dairy is discussed are available here.
Moreover, the Morris Sun Tribune reported on Saturday in MPCA seeking comments on upgrades at four Riverview facilities that four of the existing Riverview Dairy operations are in line for improvements in liquid manure storage capacity:
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is inviting public comment on draft permit applications to increase the liquid manure storage capacity at four of Riverview's dairy facilities. The 30-day comment period on all of the applications will end Jan. 15, 2015.
The four draft permit applications address facilities at the District 45 Dairy in Moore Township, West River Dairy in Synnes Township, and Dublin Dairy and East Dublin Dairy in Swift County.
Riverview would like to increase the liquid manure storage capacity at each facility by adding one or two (just East Dublin Dairy) additional earthen lined liquid manure storage areas. The final capacity at each of the facilities will remain the same.
The draft permit applications are available for review on the MPCA General Permit webpage at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/udgx69b or at the Willmar Minnesota Pollution Control Agency office (1601 East Highway 12, Suite 1). The MPCA will mail or e-mail a copy of the draft permit application upon request. The MPCA contact person for the project is George Schwin. . . .
We have not found any sources that discuss a new Riverview dairy in South Dakota in addition to the thousands of cows at the new dairies in Kandiyohi and Traverse Counties. Perhaps once they're built, we'll hear more about that chilling effect from Senator Rosen.
Photo: Riverview Dairy's Moore Calf 8000 youngstock facility near Hancock, Minnesota. Via Dairy Herd Management.
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