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Group Takes Aim at Large Livestock Operations It Says Pollutes Iowa's Water

Citing what it says is mounting public support, a group of environmental, legislative and farm leaders called Tuesday for a moratorium on new confined animal feeding operations, saying the large-scale livestock-raising facilities pollute Iowa's water and air and harm rural communities. 

Rep. Art Staed of Cedar Rapids and Sen. Pam Jochum of Dubuque, both Democrats, introduced complementary bills that call for Iowa to halt construction of new CAFOs. It's the fourth year groups have proposed a moratorium.

So far, efforts have been unsuccessful, given opposition from Republicans who control the Iowa House, Senate and governor's office, the groups said.

"We know that with the Republican trifecta, it will be difficult for the legislation to move forward this session. But this bill is bigger than this session," Staed said in a rally that followed a news conference on the moratorium effort, both of which were livestreamed.

The groups point to a 2019 John Hopkins University survey that found 63% of Iowans polled thought it was important for the state Legislature to ban construction of new and expanded CAFOs.