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Letter: Little benefits would come from CAFO

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Rob Eikenbary


To the editor:

As a landowner, I believe that, within reason, a person should be able to do as he pleases with his own land. The zoning ordinance states that this use must not be “injurious to the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community.”

The proposed 8,800 pig CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) at Anderson Falls is simply not right for Bartholomew County and will potentially have a negative impact on thousands of residents. Bartholomew County residents are fortunate to enjoy an outstanding quality of life due to both public and private efforts. Most people would agree that the Columbus area is a great place to live.

I realize that pigs need to be raised somewhere, but with nearly 80,000 residents, Bartholomew County is simply too densely populated for an operation of this size.

Here are several reasons why the CAFO proposal does not meet the first of the four zoning criteria:

Water and Air Pollution — 8,800 pigs generate almost as much solid waste as the entire city of Columbus. This is far more manure than can be spread on the adjacent fields (as the proposal states). The excess manure will likely be spread on other land the Gelfius family farms in Bartholomew County.

If you live in Clifford, Hope, Clifty Farms, Cherry Hills or Henry Lakes, along the Flat Rock River, north of Columbus Municipal Airport, or in Oak Hills you may be affected by air and water pollution.

Hog manure fermented in the pits of a CAFO becomes a toxic soup of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, cyanide, etc. It contains e-coli, MRSA, salmonella, giardia, pfiesteria and a host of other toxins. Even when applied strictly according to code, runoff will go into Clifty Creek, Oak Hills Lake and Flat Rock and White rivers.

Anderson Falls Park — The hog barns will be located directly across from this popular destination. County and out-of-town visitors will be greeted with noxious odors and possibly signs that warn against swimming and wading because of water contamination. Just a few years ago, the Clifty Creek Watershed Project spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up Clifty Creek. This CAFO would simply pollute it all over again.

Roads — County Road 200N is too narrow and hilly to safely accommodate an increase in truck traffic. Full semis of pigs, feed and manure would come in and out several times per day. The dip at Ghost Hollow can barely accommodate a truck and a bicycle, let alone another truck.

Other than financial gain for two or three families, there is very little benefit to this project. The cost is tremendous. It will reduce the quality of life for thousands of residents by polluting our air and water, and ruining one of our parks. The choice of the zoning board seems simple to me.

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