Missouri county delays vote about CAFO bill

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Moniteau County’s health board has voted to put off any action on regulating concentrated animal feeding operations – known as CAFOs – until a lawsuit is over with. During Monday’s speedy meeting in mid-Missouri’s California, Board Chairman James Canter says members will be able to make a better-informed decision once the outcome of the suit is known.

Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce has temporarily blocked Senate Bill 391 from taking effect tomorrow. The measure would prohibit counties from passing health ordinances stricter than state laws governing CAFOs.

Two county boards (Cooper and Cedar), two property owners and the nonprofit Friends of Responsible Agriculture requested the stay in the lawsuit. The suit lists Gov. Mike Parson and farm groups that worked for passage the law which plaintiffs argue is unconstitutional.

At the Missouri State Fair this month, Missouri Farm Bureau state legislative director B.J. Tanksley says the organization supports the law and says attempts to stop it through lawsuits would be complicated.

“I think everybody will look at different remedies in this case – people from both sides of this issue. But I think a lawsuit is a very complicated issue,” says Tanksley. “Who would have standing? Who would be harmed by this law?”

A court hearing on the lawsuit is set for September 19.

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