PRESS RELEASE: Schuyler County IL Residents ‘CARE’ About Their Future

Health & welfare risks of proposed hog CAFO sparks community outreach & public gathering tonight

RUSHVILLE, IL–– MAY 8, 2017––The Schuyler County citizens group, Citizens Against Ruining Environments (CARE), is organizing the public to oppose a massive concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) named Olive Branch Acres, LLC, proposed by Professional Swine Management of Carthage, IL. The CAFO, or “factory farm,” would house approximately 20,000 swine in very close proximity to area residences, recreational lakes, cabins and residents with serious preexisting medical problems.

The group will hold a press conference in Rushville Square tonight at 6:15 p.m. CT before the County Board meeting. At the meeting, residents and farmers will present a petition of local citizens opposed to the new industrial animal operation, and lodge a formal request that the Board pass a resolution against future development of CAFOs until stronger state laws are passed.

The community is being assisted by the Illinois Citizens of Clean Air & Water (ICCAW) and the national nonprofit Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP).

“We expect the elected officials on our county board to listen to the residents who have invested their heart and soul in this area,” stated Shane Moon, a close neighbor to the projected CAFO. “We are asking our Board for a public informational hearing so they can witness just how many long time residents in our community oppose this unsustainable project.”

Over the past week, CARE members visited neighbors door-to-door to discuss and raise public awareness about the proposal. They discovered several individuals within a 2-mile radius that had zero knowledge of the proposed factory farm. CARE is concerned how the massive project could forever change their neighborhood after they discovered how other communities near CAFOs across Illinois suffer frequent toxic odors and emissions, manure spills, decreased quality of life and road damages.

“This livestock factory is locating a stone’s throw from our pristine area lakes where citizens fish, swim and own year round cabins,” stated John Paul, a resident who has owns four stocked fishing ponds all within 1400 feet and one within 200 feet of the site. “It is beyond me how an individual could choose to place a monster of a project such as this near recreational lakes, cabins and ecologically sensitive areas expect to be welcomed into the community. Our lakes and woods are a clean quiet refuge for so many and it will be ruined.”

CARE members also worry about the spread of antibiotic resistant pathogens (superbugs) in water and air. Research has demonstrated that residential exposure to air contaminants generated by hog confinement facilities affect and are not limited to the respiratory system, immune system function, skin, and psycho-social systems of human beings.

‎Glenna Prather lives at just under three-quarters of a mile from the site and has medical problems with reduced lung capacity.

“The toxic odors, gases and particulates from CAFOs like this can blanket an area at any time and closing the windows will not protect us or provide relief. I’m not about to become a prisoner in my own home, or worse yet, be forced off of my property because of the dangerous toxins I will be breathing,” she stated.

CARE stresses that those in favor of this project cannot ignore the emotional and personal stress that it will cause in their community. Those in favor need to take into serious consideration the overall negative effects and realized that they will be the ones responsible for any damage to our community’s health and quality of life.

“The massive amount of urine and feces, dead animals, gases, airborne particulates, drugs, viruses and bacteria from the barns and manure application sites can have an enormous effect on the health and quality of life of nearby communities,” said Karen Hudson, an Illinois farmer, SRAP regional representative and co-founder of ICCAW.

CARE plans to educate elected the community and officials at the local level and support pending SB 1272 and SB 1273 which are geared to make manure plans more accountable and mandate a registration program that would force Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to locate and account for every CAFO in the state. Currently the agency has an accounting go only about 44% of CAFOs according to recent research.

“CARE is aware of the numerous loopholes in Illinois law that make the state attractive to CAFO owners, highlighted by the fact that no local control exists for residents, said Hudson. “The group will appeal to the Schuyler County board to pass a resolution against future CAFOs until stronger laws are passed.”

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About Citizens Against a Ruined Environment (CARE) CARE is a coalition of Schuyler county farmers and citizens that have come together to raise public awareness about the potentially devastating impacts of poorly sited and regulated factory farms on rural communities.  CARE is made up of many individuals that stand to be directly impacted by the proposed 20,000-head PSM operation near Littleton, IL. Many CARE members are long standing residents, business owners, recreational area users and investors in the natural and ecological resources of the area where the massive industrial animal feeding operation is slated to be constructed.

About Illinois Citizens for Clean Air & Water (ICCAW) Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water, a state-wide coalition of family farmers and community groups advocating for sound policies and practices that protect the environment, human health, and rural quality of life from the impacts of large-scale, industrialized livestock production facilities in Illinois. For more information about ICCAW, please go to www.iccaw.org.

About Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP) Socially Responsible Agricultural Project provides free, professional assistance to communities working to protect themselves from factory farms and their impact on local communities and populations, and to those who are trying to reclaim agriculture by producing and marketing sustainable agricultural goods.  More information can be found at www.sraproject.org.

Media contacts:
Karen Hudson, SRAP | ICCAW
309-742-8895| karenh@sraproject.org