Information from DNR's website-
A public hearing will be held virtually during a Clean Water Commission meeting on March 18, 2021. Those wishing to provide comments may do so during that public hearing; comments may also be made during the public comment period on the department's Regulatory Action Tracking System, or RATS at this link. Finally, comments can be made during the public comment period by email or in writing to Cindy LePage, Cindy.email@example.com, or Department of Natural Resources, Water Protection Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176, attn. Cindy LePage. Information on attending the virtual Clean Water Commission meeting and public hearing for 10 CSR 20-8.300 can be found on the Commission's webpage at this link.
On Jan 8, 2021 Missouri DNR filed an amendment to the definition of groundwater excluding perched water FOR CAFOs ONLY. This change will give Missourian’s water rights to industrial-sized Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) for use as sewers. In December DNR attempted to expedite the rule change by filing an Emergency Rule instead of following the regular process for changing rules. A lawsuit was filed against the DNR and the Clean Water Commission concerning the emergency rule and a Writ was issued prohibiting DNR from taking any action based on the emergency rule. The proposed amendment to 10 CSR 20-8.300 will be published in the Missouri Register on Feb. 16, 2021. The public comment period will begin Feb. 16, 2021 and conclude March 25, 2021. A public hearing will be held virtually during a Clean Water Commission meeting on March 18, 2021.
The following information can be used in your comments to DNR. It would be good to include several concerns in your letters and emails.
*Amending the regulatory definition of groundwater table would provide a direct and significant benefit to United Hog Systems Z-8 Sow Farm during the Department’s review of its pending permit application. This “changing the rules in the middle of the game” is inappropriate and unethical.
*The DNR is responsible for protecting all Missouri waters; this is their mission, economic considerations must always be secondary, even more so, foreign economic interests.
*The reason DNR gives for the rule change is that DNR had "inadvertently" left out the exclusion of a perched water table from their definition of groundwater table. DNR stated that they want to correct this because the "oversight" was recently brought to their attention and it is in the best interest of the government to correct their mistake.
*Members of Poosey Neighbors United, LLC, believe that this "oversight" was brought to DNR's attention at the AHC hearing for the first permit for United Hog Systems Z-8 Sow Farm in Livingston County MO held in July 2020; at this hearing in Jefferson City Poosey Neighbors United attorney Stephen Jeffery presented evidence of shallow water at the site such that the shallow groundwater would not have allowed for the underground cement waste containers to be built the required 2 feet above the water table.
*The proposed rule change would eliminate perched groundwater bodies from consideration of potential environmental impacts. The occurence of perched groundwater bodies across Missouri is complex and requires an understanding of varied geologic conditions. "One size does not fit all."
*The Missouri DNR acknowledges the complexity and variety of groundwater resources in this statement taken from their website. : “You will find that the groundwater resources of Missouri are not evenly distributed. The amount of usable groundwater is far less in northern Missouri. Only about 12 percent of Missouri’s potable water is found north of the Missouri River…Thus, a resource that many may take for granted in the southern part of the state is considered a precious commodity in the north.”
*For many of us the shallow water table can be the only freshwater source of groundwater that is reasonably available. For about a quarter of all Missourians freshwater drinking wells function as water delivery systems. In North Missouri, many of those pumphouses sit over a perched water table – a pool of groundwater that may be the size of your bedroom, or perhaps the size of five football fields. " One size does not fit all.”
*If significant sources of groundwater are excluded from the regulation of CAFOs, how long will our good, usable and limited water exist?
*A thorough Hydrogeologic Analysis of each proposed CAFO site should be required.
*It is DNR's position that their cookie cutter design standards for the CAFO buildings will mitigate any seepage of waste into shallow groundwater. No hydrogeologic analysis before permitting or monitoring after construction are required. Concerning subsurface concrete manure structures and shallow groundwater, as Clean Water Commissioner John Reece, P.E., stated in January 2020, "there's two types of concrete - concrete that's cracked and concrete that's gonna crack."
*At the Stakeholder meeting in November geologists commented that each proposed CAFO should have a thorough hydrogeologic analysis just as other waste facilities are required to have. This would provide DNR with the data they need to make a well-informed professional judgement on the environmental suitability of a particular site for constructing a CAFO. The level of risk to our waters will vary by location.
*A technical panel/committee should be developed to evaluate this proposed rule change.
*Any changes to this rule should involve the participation of groundwater scientists, environmental scientists and other stakeholders.
*At the Nov. Stakeholder meeting Matthew Rhoades of The Missouri Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists stated that his professional group was " concerned about the design standards and the monitoring requirements, especially as they relate to perched groundwater systems and urge the formation of a technical working group in advance of the rulemaking process."
Documentation received by the expansion request to DNR and additional research.
Lone Jack Neighbors for Responsible Agriculture factual documentation showed in PowerPoint presentation from public hearing below!
Michele Merkel is co-director of Food & Water Justice, the legal division. They use the court system to advocate for positive change & provide legal support for Food & Water Watch’s mission to ensure that the food, water & fish we consume is safe, accessible & sustainably produced. Michele previously served as an attorney in the Enforcement Division of the US EPA, where she worked closely with the Dept of Justice to develop and bring actions for violations of federal environmental laws.