DNR issues CAFO construction permit to Gessling

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources issued a construction permit Friday, Aug. 31, to Dennis Gessling for a new farm hog operation two miles west of Arrow Rock, according to a DNR news release.

The permit will allow for construction of a Class IC Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. A construction permit is required for a feeding operation housing more than 2,499 hogs.

The permit issued to Gessling allows for construction of two barns with a total capacity of 4,800 hogs.

The department received comments objecting to the location of the proposed facility.

The main concern was the proximity to the town of Arrow Rock, which is a National Historic Landmark, and Arrow Rock State Historic Site, which is owned by the department.

"The Missouri Department of Natural Resources often hear concerns from neighbors about concentrated animal feeding operations, and sometimes we are the neighbor," said Department Director Doyle Childers. "We must continue to be fair and consistent. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources understands the many concerns over this permit, but, in the end, the department does not have the ability by law to address questions of zoning, location, property values, tourism or other items unrelated to water quality."

The waste management system for Gessling's site has been designed and permitted as a no-discharge operation, which means the process wastes are contained in pits beneath the building and are stored until proper land application of the process wastes can be conducted, according to the news release.

Land application of wastes must be conducted using proper application rates, timing and setbacks from geologic features such as streams and ponds to minimize run-off or infiltration into groundwater.

DNR staff reviewed the application to determine if the proposed site meets the appropriate requirements, such as buffer distance, setback distance, geology as it pertains to the storage structure, flood plain location and relation to waters of the state, according to the news release.

If the permit application meets all regulatory requirements and demonstrates the operation will protect water quality, the department is obligated by law to issue the permit. The department determined the permit application met all regulatory requirements and demonstrated the operation will protect waters of the state, officials said.

The DNR also received requests to delay a permit determination pending the outcome of the Section 106 review required by the National Historic Preservation Act.

The Natural Resource Conservation Service is conducting this review as a result of the Gessling's request for federal cost share on this project and its proximity and alleged potential negative impacts to properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

The DNR permitting process is independent of the federal review, and the issuance of the permit has no bearing on the outcome of the review, officials said.

State law and regulation, however, obligates the department to promptly review and issue decisions on permit applications.

Any aggrieved party may appeal the department's permit decision by filing a petition with the Administrative Hearing Commission within 30 days of the permit issuance.

Appeals must be sent to the Administration Hearing Commission, P.O. Box 1557, Jefferson City, MO 65102 or by fax to (573) 751-5018.

For more information, contact the department's Water Protection Program at 1-800-361-4827 or (573) 751-1300.

For a copy of the permit, visit the department's Web site at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp/permits/index.html.

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