"Elsewhere across the state, Jim Rubis of Fairfield was fighting a 
similar battle along with friends who formed Jefferson County 
Farmers and Neighbors Inc. Ditto for hundreds of people who live in 
the Clear Lake area.

The Dickinson County confinement opponents were prepared to sue to 
stop a New Fashion Pork development four miles west of West Okoboji 
Lake. They didn't have to, but they continue to burn up e-mail 
servers with plans to fight for county zoning of hog confinements 
and other livestock operations.

The Okobojians teamed with residents of Fairfield and Clear Lake - 
and other spots around Iowa - to form the Iowa Network for Local 
Control, which is raising $200,000 for lobbying and legal fees.

Koepp told state lawmakers at a rules committee hearing last week 
that lake residents and visitors caught off guard by the latest 
confinement proposal now know that the current regulations favor the 
livestock industry, not confinement critics.

"It's apparent we are getting the short end of the stick," Koepp 
said. "You need to enter into a serious dialogue on this in the next 

Rubis last week told lawmakers that his group collected 2,000 
signatures in a county of 16,000, in two days, supporting local 

"We were told by legislators there was no interest in doing this," 
Rubis said. The group collected 700 letters in support, then began 
quietly lobbying. "There IS interest," he added.

Murphy, who lives near the Iowa Great Lakes and just south of land 
eyed for the now-shelved confinement, told lawmakers, "I would plead 
with you to do the will of the people. Agricultural interests are 
running this state and we need some balance."

The network's idea: Let counties zone hog confinements, as they 
would other businesses that have steady emissions.

The chances of the group succeeding: Unknown. However, lawmakers 
have steadfastly refused such an action, and have voted several 
times to make even clearer the state's control over livestock.

Last week, the Iowa Administrative Rules Review Committee let stand 
a new rule that will give Jeff Vonk, director of the Iowa Department 
of Natural Resources, the power to consider a wider range of 
environmental factors before approving new livestock operations. 
However, the panel also formally objected to the rule - basically 
declaring it illegal and inviting a legal challenge. The Iowa Farm 
Bureau Federation said it would watch the DNR's actions for a while 
before deciding whether to sue."


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