Letter from Langdon: MO Big Pig
[imgbelt img=4d6d7fabb5133.image_.jpeg] The Missouri legislature is passing laws that make the world safe for Big Pig. That means the world is a lot less safe for the rest of us.
According to Missouri House Bill 209 and Senate Bill 187, if Big Pig encroaches on my rights, the best I can do after hiring a lawyer and fighting all the way to the Supreme Court, is win the amount they cost me. They’re free to take, and take, and take again, until they’ve taken the full value of my property without ever paying a penalty. If the stink from a Big Pig operation devalues my $200,000 property by $75,000, the CAFO is liable for $75,000. That’s it. No damages.
Once the value of my home is eaten up, I’m fresh out of luck.
When the House and Senate blend the two bills and make them one, about the only hope left is that Governor Jay Nixon, a long time proponent of local control since his Attorney General days, will refuse to sign such stinky political offal into law.
What prompted this bill? Well, last year 15 residents in northwest Missouri sued Premium Standard Farms (a CAFO with a reputation) and won $11 million in damages. PSF is owned by the momma sow, Smithfield, and they cite this verdict as evidence that Big Pig needs the overreaching protection of the Missouri legislature. The folks who rendered this lard in Jefferson City say like it or lump it, that’s the way the sausage sizzles.
Look out below, they’re not done yet. The Missouri Senate must now consider SB 278 that would give Big Pig protection against damages under the water laws.
There’s one unanswered question that lingers in the minds of many; Now that Missouri has greased a path for Big Pig pollution that resembles corporate take-all power of eminent domain, and Missouri voters have lost a big slab of their property rights….how big can Big Pig in Missouri grow?
Richard Oswald is a fifth generation Missouri farmer, a regular Yonder columnist and President of the Missouri Farmers Union.