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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    Contact: Rhonda Perry, 573- 449-1336
Tuesday May 3, 2005      Carla Klein 573-815-9250     573-999-7667 (cell)

Coalition Opposes Anti-Local Control Legislation
Jefferson City, MO
Today, a coalition of family farmers, county commissioners and environmental organizations announced their continued opposition to HCS SB 187. Local control and democratic rights of rural communities are still in danger. There is a blatant attempt to hide behind the majority of family farmers to protect a very small minority of industrial livestock operations at the expense of local control and democracy. Family farmers, rural citizens, conservationists, and local elected officials are very opposed to this legislation.

“We’re here to stand up for the farm and rural values that make rural Missouri a great place to live,” said Callaway County livestock farmer Margot McMillen. “Common sense measures that minimize the threats posed by industrial livestock facilities are protections we can’t afford to lose. Local democracy, healthy rural communities, clean air, clean water, economic opportunity and corporate accountability standards are on the chopping block. But it isn’t too late. Our Senators and Representatives can choose to side with family farms, local democracy and a clean environment by voting NO on HCS SB 187.”

Cargill has recently confirmed that they are looking for 300 additional CAFO sites. They are targeting northern Missouri and western Illinois. Given Cargill's commitment to this very big industrial hog project, it is more important than ever that counties maintain the ability to ensure that these operations will be good neighbors.

The new substitute for Senate Bill 187 still takes away local control by placing insurmountable obstacles to counties’ authority to enact health ordinances to protect their citizens. Any attempt to diminish the ability of local governments to respond to the needs of its citizen’s is a threat to local democracy for all counties.

“Decisions about the future of rural communities should be made at the most local level possible,” contends, Bill Christenson a livestock and grain farmer in Livingston County. “Family farmers and rural citizens want decisions for our communities made by local elected officials who live and work in our communities.”

This bill imposes “no stricter than state” provisions. Forcing communities to live with minimum standard of protection! “This is setting a bad precedent for taking away local control,” explains Carla Klein, Chapter Director Missouri Sierra Club.

Missouri Association of Counties, MAC, still opposes the bill. County Commissioner Eva Danner, “This bill would basically strip a county of the ability to respond to citizen demands due to the expense involved to comply with this bill-another unfunded mandate. This is all about local control. Decisions about the future of rural communities should be made at the most local level possible-the level at which the very people who are impacted can best participate.”

Family Farmers and rural citizens are asking their legislators to VOTE NO on House Substitute for SB187.