Objections to hog facility more than merely ‘venting’

The June meeting about the enormous proposed Catalpa, LLC, hog facility at the Mabel Community Center was standing room only. Over 400 people gathered to ask for a full environmental impact statement of the potential for polluted drinking water, declining property values and health problems. I can't put into words how inspiring that night was. During these uncertain times, it filled my heart with hope to be with so many passionate and well-informed citizens making their voices heard.

So when I read on MPR.org on July 3 that the owner of Iowa-based Waukon Feed Ranch (also the facility manager for Catalpa, LLC) called the inspiring meeting a "venting point," it made me mad. To dismiss the time and energy hundreds of locals have put into researching the risks, preparing comments, and weighing the pros and cons is downright disrespectful.

If there's one thing my husband and I have learned since starting our farm in Black Hammer, it's that people around here care about each other and the wider community. Folks aren't just out for themselves here — Minnesotans in Fillmore and Houston County help each other out every day without any fanfare. It's just what you do.

Venting is when you complain to a friend about getting a flat tire, a bee sting, and a potato beetle infestation all in one day. What's 400+ rural residents, farmers, business owners, parents, clergy and local elected officials gathered together to demand that the MPCA follow the law and order a full EIS?

Democracy.

Dayna Burtness
Black Hammer