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By Echo Menges, NEMOnews Media Group
Scotland County, MO – Wednesday, March 2, 2022 – The Scotland County Commission is looking at repealing the county’s Health Ordinance, which deals with county requirements for local concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) within the county – in order to avoid a lawsuit. The commission has put forward a motion to repeal the health/CAFO ordinance, No. 09-01, Wednesday morning. They will be voting on that motion on Thursday morning, March 10, 2022, at 11:00 a.m.
In the meantime, they are hoping citizens will chime in before the vote is taken.
In 2019, the Governor signed Senate Bill 391 limiting individual counties from enforcing health/CAFO ordinances more stringent than Department of Natural Resources state level requirements. Lawsuits have since been filed against some counties for keeping those laws in place.
The Scotland County Commission is trying to get ahead of a similar lawsuit, if the current Scotland County Health Ordinance is not repealed.
“Since the state passed Senate Bill 391, there hasn’t been a county that has repealed the ordinance yet,” said Scotland County Western District Commissioner David Wiggins, “We’ll be the first throughout the state – I believe.”
“It can open us up to lawsuits for even having that ordinance that’s stricter than state law,” said Scotland County Eastern District Commissioner Brent Rockhold.
The ordinance was originally established in 2009.
“We amended it twice since I’ve been in office,” said Wiggins who was elected in 2012 and took office in 2013. The ordinance was challenged one time in 2012, amended in 2013, and amended again in 2015.
The Commission began discussing the possibility of repealing the ordinance near the end of 2021, after learning that a legal challenge could be coming. The discussion was logged in their meeting minutes and published in the newspaper. They expected to learn more about how their constituents felt about a possible repeal, however, no community response was given.
Community members who wish to share their thoughts on the matter with the County Commission are asked to come in and see the commission. Individuals can call the County Clerk’s Office to be added to the agenda by calling (660)465-7027. The commission meets twice a week, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 8:30 a.m to noon each day.
Citizens who wish to be heard on this matter have a short window to do so.
“Once they rescind it, the county can apply to be an Agri-Ready County through the Missouri Farmers Care organization,” Scotland County Farm Bureau President Greg Probst told The Memphis Democrat. “The Farm Bureau is in full support of rescinding the local health/CAFO ordinance.”
Probst was at the meeting on Wednesday when the motion to rescind was made.
Follow the link to read the full ordinance: ORDINANCE NO09-01 Amended 102915