Springfield City Council Rejects Resolution Affirming Local Control Over CAFOs

Dec 18, 2019

Springfield City Hall
Credit Chloe O'Neill

A resolution affirming Springfield City Council’s “commitment to retaining local control and objecting to restricting local control of concentrated animal feeding operations” has been voted down.

The resolution was drafted in response to the passage of Missouri Senate Bill 391, which restricts how much local governments can regulate industrial farms known as Confined Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs.  Essentially, county and city governments can no longer enforce stricter measures than the state’s rules when it comes to regulating these farms.

See KSMU’s earlier reporting on SB391 here.

This week, Councilman Craig Hosmer pointed out that retaining local control has been one of council’s top legislative priorities for the past several years.

“This (SB 391) is a statute that takes local control away, and it doesn’t take local control away in a good way.  It takes local control away in a bad way,” said Hosmer.

Several people spoke in favor of the resolution Monday night.  They expressed concern about the impact a CAFO would have on water quality in Greene County.  One of them was Todd Parnell, who served on the Missouri Clean Water Commission for 10 years.

“Retaining local control is particularly critical when it comes to protecting our drinking water, our water tables, our water quality and our water-based tourism economy,” said Parnell.

He said there’s been a steady erosion of state protections and regulations pertaining to CAFOs and elimination of local control. 

But Mayor Ken McClure opposed the resolution.  McClure repeatedly asked speakers if they’d talked with their state representatives about the matter.  He said lawmaker support for the new state law was “overwhelming,” and that passing the local resolution may hurt Springfield.

No one else spoke against the resolution.

The final vote was five to four, with the resolution failing to pass.

View Monday night's City Council meeting here.