PEORIA — Citizens opposing a proposed hog farm near Princeville want the Peoria County Board to call for tighter regulation of concentrated animal feeding operations in the county.
A coalition of groups including Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project and the Heart of Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club will meet at the Peoria County Courthouse at 2:30 p.m. Thursday to request that the Peoria County Board consider a resolution regarding the state's regulation of CAFOs.
Scott Sorrel, Peoria County administrator, said the county has received numerous complaints about the possibility of a large hog-finishing facility near Princeville with plans to house 2,480 hogs. But, because the proposed facility plans fewer than 2,500 animals, state statute rules out Peoria County's ability to effect change in the matter, he said.
When a proposed facility has 2,500 animals, a public informational meeting is required that allows a county board to issue a nonbinding recommendation for or against the project.
"The state has already approved the site for use, following rules laid out by Livestock Management Facilities Act. Peoria County has no role, advisory or otherwise, in these decisions by the Illinois Department of Agriculture," said Sorrel, noting no public meeting is planned, as a result.
Sorrel outlined three legislative solutions that are important to Peoria County. "First, the State Water Survey should play a greater role in the review process to assess impacts on the groundwater supply," he said.
"Second, there needs to be greater transparency and notification provided to local governments for a proposed facility, including the opportunity for local governments, like Peoria County, to gain meaningful input from citizens and county professional staff," said Sorrel.
"Third, the Department of Agriculture should also consider a prohibition of any livestock management facility within 1.5 miles of any municipality to preserve the municipality's groundwater supply and potential adverse impact on property values," he said.
The representatives of groups meeting at the County Board meeting room Thursday will outline changes they see needed in Illinois law.
Steve Tarter covers city and county government for the Journal Star. He can be reached at 686-3260 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter@SteveTarter and facebook.com/tartersource.