November 20, 2017-
Iowans concerned with the proliferation of large-scale animal feeding operations are beating the drum for changes that include local control for counties and changes to Iowa’s master matrix, a scoring system for siting the operations. That drum beat was steady in a nearly two-hour panel discussion Monday night at the Cedar Rapids Public Library. More than 50 people showed up to listen to eight speakers, including current and former state lawmakers, community organizers, farmers and a former Iowa Department of Natural Resources official.
“The master matrix is what has taken away the ability of counties to say very much at all where facilities are located,” said David Osterberg, founder, researcher and former director of the Iowa Policy Project. One facility concerning panelists is a 10,000-head cattle feedlot and biogas operation under construction near the Clayton County city of Monona in northeast Iowa. Larry Stone, of Elkader, explained how the Walz Energy facility will put cow manure into a digester to create methane the owners plan to sell for energy.