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Eye On Boise

Senate committee unanimous on lifting 1-mile gag rule

When a 20,000-cow confined animal feeding operation was proposed 300 feet from his house, Dean Dimond wasn’t too worried at first. “I thought, aw, this isn’t so bad – we got laws to protect us. We’ll get the neighbors together and see what we can do to work it out,” Dimond told a Senate committee Wednesday.

But Dimond soon found out that a 7-year-old state law was being invoked by his county commissioners in Jerome County to keep anyone whose primary home is more than a mile from the project from testifying at the planning and zoning hearing. Even his father, whose farm land is adjacent to the project, was excluded because his home is elsewhere.

“I’m just astounded,” the Eden-area farmer told the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee. “I beg of you to please, please look at expanding that a little bit.”

Though two previous attempts to repeal the one-mile limit law have failed since 2000, the committee voted unanimously Wednesday for SB 1056. The measure would allow anyone with an interest in property affected by a confined animal feeding operation – or CAFO – to testify, regardless of distance to their property. Backers of the bill said the noise, dust, flies and odor from CAFOs travel more than a mile and affect businesses, property owners and others as well as homeowners. Read the full story here in today’s Spokesman-Review.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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