The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will return to the Mabel Community Center Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 6:30 p.m. for a final opportunity for the public to weigh in and ask questions about the water quality dangers posed by the proposed Catalpa hog feedlot in Newburg, Minn.
Earlier this summer, an overflow crowd of concerned citizens demanded that the MPCA require a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before considering the proposed permit.
Based on some of the record 771 comment letters received during the initial public notice, the MPCA recently ordered two additional studies of the site. Those studies have been severely criticized by outside geology experts Dr. Calvin Alexander and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), citing flawed methods and clear evidence of karst formations which was disregarded by the studies, according to a new release from Responsible Agriculture in Karst Country (RAKC).
RAKC is a group of residents, landowners, and farmers -- both conventional and organic/sustainable -- living in the karst region working to increase public awareness of responsible agricultural practices in sensitive karst geologic areas.
A third critique released Nov. 28, 2018, also supporting an EIS, shows, "Construction of Catalpa will increase the risk of groundwater pollution."
Martin Larsen, a fifth-generation farmer and president of the Minnesota Cave Preserve and Minnesota Caving Club said, “Infiltrating large quantities of water in this geologic setting will increase probability of sinkhole formation to a level that is not acceptable…The fundamental methods and conclusions of the Electrical Resistivity Imaging (ERI) study are vague and imprecise.”
Catalpa proposed a 5,000 sow farrowing operation, including a large building, underground manure pit, stormwater basin, a new large well and hog manure applications on over 700 acres. This single operation would produce more fecal waste than twice the entire 20,000 population of Fillmore County.
All of the MPCA documents may be found at https://www.pca.state.mn.us/quick-links/catalpa-ag-llc. A six-minute video on impacts to the community may be viewed at http://www.mncenter.org/standwithkarstcountry.
In addition to public comments presented at Tuesday’s meeting, a written comment period is open until Tuesday Dec. 11, 2018 at 4:30 pm. The MPCA will consider comments related to the additional investigations, sent via email to charles.peterson@state.mn.us, or mailed to Charles Peterson, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.