June 22, 2018-
Three southeast Iowa families who say the stench from two hog farms made it difficult for them to emerge from their homes won’t get immediate help from the Iowa Supreme Court, which Friday reversed a lower court decision that found a law protecting producers was unconstitutional. The court ruled that Iowa’s right-to-farm law was constitutional in its aim, but it upheld a previous ruling that said the protection for producers can be overcome by showing “sustained significant hardship” and meeting other conditions.
The Wapello County case returns to a lower court to determine whether the families meet those requirements. The decision also clears the way for similar lawsuits against other animal feeding operations, some of which were placed on hold pending the state Supreme Court ruling, seeking to mitigate allegedly harmful effects or recover damages. Jason Chance, one of the Wapello County plaintiffs, said the “horrible stench” has caused anxiety and depression and it leaves his family with burning throats and eyes. The combined total of hogs at the farms is nearly 10,000.