Bernadotte Township board members register opposition to planned 20-thousand head swine concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).
BERNADOTTE TOWNSHIP, IL August 22, 2016 Board members of Fulton County’s Bernadotte Township have signed into the public record a resolution opposing the siting and operation of a large-scale industrial swine CAFO currently under review by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA). The propose operation, Runway Ridge Farms LLC, would house 20,908 hogs run by industrial agriculture giant Professional Swine Management. The resolution was signed into action on August 16th .
Opposition to the construction and operation of the CAFO is championed by two local groups, Neighbors Opposing a Polluted Environment (NOPE) and Concerned Citizens of Fulton County (CCFC) with the support of Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water (ICCAW) and the national nonprofit Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP).
“The IDOA never contacted the township board — we only heard about it from the local groups opposing it,” said Bernadotte Township Supervisor Connie King. “This operation has the potent potential to ruin health and quality of life in this community, and rob us of decades-old traditions like our annual Spoon River Drive Festival.”
The Spoon River Drive Festival is a nearly 50-year mainstay of Bernadotte Township, attracting thousands of tourists to the area annually along with generating revenue key to community stability and growth.
NOPE spokesperson Stu Harrison agrees the CAFO will not only disrupt the community, it will alter lives and lifestyles in the County.
“It’s just a terrible location all the way around. Two forks of Tater Creek, which includes Rob Jockisch’s horse farm and living quarters, along with its potable well are less than 100 feet from the proposed swine operation. The proximity of this proposed facility will pollute our air and water, and will be a biohazard to his horses.”
As the basis for the resolution, local opposition enacted Article X of the State of Illinois Constitution which states that citizens can protect their inalienable right to live in a healthy environment.
“The township board acted to make the IDOA aware of this resolution to halt the business-as-usual rubber stamping of CAFO applications that happens time and again in this state,” said ICCAW’\’s Eric Sterling. “If IDOA cannot recognize the negative health impacts the proposed CAFO will bring, it should halt approval on the pure, factual grounds that the impact it will have on the Spoon River Drive Festival which defies it own criteria guaranteeing support and protection of tourism in the state.”
Karen Hudson, SRAP | ICCAW