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Supervisors will appeal hog confinement approval

Dencklau: Sites aren’t suitable in spite of master matrix score

DUNCOMBE — The Webster County Board of Supervisors will appeal the approval of two hog confinements planned for near Duncombe.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources approved both sites on Dec. 8, three weeks after a board of supervisors meeting in which supervisors heard widespread criticism from area residents, and voted to express their own disapproval to the DNR.

Now the board can appeal to the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission, which oversees the DNR, to review the application, said Supervisor Keith Dencklau.

“I don’t know what they are going to say,” Dencklau said. “It’s going to be a hard sell.”

Both sites won enough points to pass the state’s master matrix, the board ruled at its Nov. 14 meeting. Although the board voiced their disapproval, those numbers meant their hands were basically tied.

The DNR, as well, has to approve the site because the numbers add up, Dencklau said.

“That’s what’s wrong with this whole process,” he said. “The first time we hear about it, it’s already a done deal. They are going to submit a master matrix that passes. Ever since we saw it two months ago, everyone’s hands were tied.”

The board learned of the decision Monday, Dencklau said, and will now file an initial notice within 14 days. That notice gives them time to submit their demand for a hearing within 30 days.

After that, the EPC will set a time and location within 35 days from the date they receive the demand.

One site is located on 200th Street east of Taylor Avenue; the other is less than a mile from Duncombe city limits, on Washington Avenue between 200th and 210th streets.

Dencklau said the board is submitting the appeal on behalf of Duncombe, and the citizens living around Duncombe. The people need to make their complaints heard, he added.

“They’ve asked us to do it, so we’ll do it,” he said. “The people of the area have to write the concerns, not me.”

The mayor and city council of Duncombe have made their complaints known before, and sent a letter which was included in the Nov. 14 discussion. The site is too close to Brushy Creek, Mayor Dennis Banks said, and could affect recreation on the lake it empties into. He also voiced concerns about air quality in the town.

“I cannot believe the DNR does not want to protect that lake. To me it’s just incredible,” said David Haynes, a resident of Duncombe. “They don’t seem to be wanting to protect the people, in my opinion. There’s people with breathing problems in Duncombe.”

A third site, nearer to Gowrie, was also discussed at the Nov. 14 meeting. The supervisors received few or no complaints about that one, and didn’t oppose its approval.

“In Mark (Campbell)’s district, there have been no complaints,” Dencklau said of that site. “It passed with flying colors.”

Regarding the Duncombe area sites, he said, “In my district, I have not heard from one person who wanted it there.”

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