A legislative study committee opted Thursday to make limited recommendations to the General Assembly on concentrated animal feeding operations.
CAFOs are large barns that hold hundreds to thousands of animals and their manure. Critics say they diminish air and water quality.
The study committee’s report will recommend expanding public notice requirements for farmers seeking to build a CAFO, says committee chair Senator Sue Glick.
“I believe more notice is better. Notice should go out to individuals, not only the individual property owners, but businesses that may be impacted,” she says.
Glick says there’s a possibility other existing regulations could be tweaked during next year’s legislative session to diminish the environmental effects of CAFOs.
Hoosier Environmental Council attorney Kim Ferraro testified to what she sees as existing regulatory gaps.
“Typically, what happens is that the offending CAFO or the offending issue is actually in compliance with the law,” Ferraro says. “And so that means, common sense wise, that there’s something wrong with the law.”
Ferraro’s testimony was met with an unusual amount of skepticism from several lawmakers, including Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville).
“You’re making a lot of comments at that mic about what studies you disagree with and what organizations you disagree with, I’d like to know who your supporters are,” he says.
Despite that, Ferraro says she’s optimistic the legislature will enact stricter rules on CAFOs next year.