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Hog bill stinks

Denver, CO—Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) is disappointed that the Colorado House of Representatives today chose to ignore Amendment 14, a 1998 Colorado initiative passed by 63 percent of the voters, that regulates housed commercial swine feeding operations. The passage of Senate Bill 114, sponsored by Sen. Ken Kester, R-Dist. 2 and Rep. Gardner, R–Yuma, by the Colorado House of Representatives today allows housed commercial swine feeding operations to use, as standard practice, “alternative technology” to control odor emissions.

Amendment 14 requires strict water and odor regulation and oversight of Colorado hog farm lagoons. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is using a study on hog lagoon odor emissions, completed this year by Colorado State University, to qualify the alternative technologies suggested to be as effective at controlling odors. RMFU is concerned the study does not accurately support the claim that “alternative technology” is “as effective” in controlling odors as the synthetic covers specified in Amendment 14.

John Stencel, president of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, expressed dismay with the inaccuracies voiced by the proponents while debating SB114. “Alternative technologies have not been proven to be as effective as synthetic covers,” said Stencel. “With this bill, Amendment 14 has been watered down by the legislature and it will allow less effective control of hog odors and emissions.”

Although funding added to SB114 will go towards assisting the CDPHE with odor inspection and enforcement, RMFU is doubtful that this funding will be adequate to enforce the law. The amendment put on in the House of Representatives providing for approximately $63,000 for enforcement is unlikely to address the actual funding needs of the CDPHE.

The bill now goes back to the Senate for consideration of the House amendments.

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