Letter: Commissioners’ decision on CAFOs questionable

From: Nancy Banta


Larry Kleinhenz was quoted by The Republic as saying, “Everybody is mad at us.” Therefore, Bartholomew County Commissioners Kleinhenz, Rick Flohr and Carl Lienhoop are aware county residents do not support the approved ordinances concerning setback restrictions for CAFOs. Yet they still chose to approve the “majority” recommended setbacks for CAFOs under the guise of “providing 400 percent more protection than before.”

Listen, folks, I am pleased the commissioners are providing a one-fourth-mile setback for schools, health care facilities and churches. However, there are few health care facilities and schools in need of that one-fourth-mile setback. The majority of schools and health care facilities are located in the city or a town with a buffer zone. Two schools that could have benefited from this particular setback are Flat Rock-Hawcreek schools, and they already have their token CAFO sited across the road.

My question is, if it is important for schools, health care facilities and churches to have a ¼-mile setback (1,320 feet), why would the commissioners only provide 500 feet for our homes, wells and families? I agree 500 feet is better than 100 feet, but it is still not sufficient. This 500-foot setback is only applicable if you live on 5 acres or less. If you reside on more than 5 acres the CAFO operator will be measuring his 500 feet from your structure, essentially using your property to fulfill his criteria for the ordinance. Problematic issues affiliated with CAFOs, such as quality of life and financial loss from declining property values, will reverberate throughout our county.

The commissioners have disregarded the science-based requests of Bartholomew County residents to fulfill the wants of one concise group. It is evident with the approval of these setbacks you are confessing to the residents of Bartholomew County their well-being and input are not important.