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Odor From Idaho Wafts Around the World

February 19, 2007

People around the country are detecting a literal "odor of discontent" about confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Idaho. Plans for a CAFO in Jerome County have brought air quality objections from locals, as well as people from other countries. Thus far, however, they are objections to which the county is not listening.

That could change with passage of a bill in the Idaho Senate, requiring comments on CAFOs to be accepted from anyone who has an interest in nearby property. And Matt Echohawk of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho says the "nearby property" in this case is the Minidoka Internment National Monument.

"It has special significance historically, not only to our country, but to Japanese-Americans who were confined there during World War II."

Under current state law, counties don't have to acknowledge comments from anyone except people who own property within one mile of a proposed CAFO. Echohawk says this narrow limit ignores the large-scale public impact CAFOs can have.

"There are a lot of Idahoans concerned about the impact of CAFOs on the environment, on health, and on the quality of life in their communities."

The full Idaho Senate should take up the proposal, Senate Bill 1056, this week. Learn more about the monument site at

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - ID