By Mike Scott
Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director Doyle Childers visited Kahoka on Thurday, meeting with county officials and local residents, his 96th such visit to communities across the State of Missouri.
“We want to visit with people to see what the issues are in your community,” Childers said.
Citing past DNR procedures “a recipe for confusion”, Childers utilizes a regional ombudsman program to cut through the red tape and bureacracy of the agency. Childers then asked for concerns from those attending. Prior to his appointment to heat the DNR, it was common for different areas of the state to interpret DNR regulations differently.
Childers asked for local concerns.
“Our biggest issue has been CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), said Clark County commissioner C.W. Higbee.
“We don’t know whether we have any good answers or not. We’ve been riding along to see what happens.”
Childers responded that it was important to use the best technology and siting practices possible.
“Is your department doing any ongoing studies on health effects?” asked Higbee.
“We don’t cover that area, but the Department of Health might be,” Childers responded.
DNR Ombudsman Don Summers added that recent studies from the University of Missouri and Iowa State indicate that in an experimental house, indoor ammonia levels are higher from tobacco use and household chemicals than from confinement operations.
KPF Foundry’s Ken McNew expressed what seems to be a problem with a simple solution--what to do with the wood pallets they receive. DNR regulations prevent them from being burned, and no one locally recycles the pallets. The result is that many end up in the landfill.
NEMO Regional Planning Director Nate Walker asked what help might be available from the DNR on public buildings, such as court houses, in need if repairs or renovation.
Childers explained two programs. The first provides loans to make energy efficiency improvements, such as windows and insulation. These loan are then repaid through the savings realized by the improvements.
The second program is the courthouse grant program, a new program which has $500,000 grant money available.
“We worked out a emergency loan with Worth County,” Childers said.
“It would probably take all the money in the program and then some,” Munzlinger said about the Clark County Court House.
Asked what DNR’s response would be to a rumored packing plant in or near Clark County, Childers answered that the DNR would not be involved until there was an application.
“There are many things we would look at at that point, including water and air quality issues, the potential for hazardous waste. We might require a geologic survey of the site. Odor emmissions would be regulated. The law spells out what we would have to do.”