Monday, January 30, 2023


Massachusetts could restrict police use of facial recognition technology, Wyoming mulls more health coverage for workers, and a report finds low salary contributes to social workers leaving the field.


Civil rights activists push for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act following the killing of Tyre Nichols, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he can reach a deal with President Biden on the debt ceiling, and election experts say 2023 could shape voting rights across the country.


"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Indiana Boosts Funding for CAFO Inspections


Wednesday, July 17, 2019   

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana is boosting its efforts to ensure that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations are following the rules.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management inspects and regulates CAFOs, which often are criticized for animal-welfare and food-safety issues. The new state budget sets funding for CAFO inspections at more than $3 million annually for 2019 through 2021 - a sharp contrast to the roughly $318,000 a year in the last budget.

Margo Tucker, assistant legal counsel and assistant director for the Citizens Action Coalition, said ramped-up inspections are a step in the right direction - but, as she put it, "only one side of the coin.

"IDEM needs help both financially and legislatively," she said. "One side of that coin was addressed, but stronger legislation is still needed so that IDEM can continue to do their job. And until then, they're just limited in addressing all of the environmental ramifications that CAFOs represent."

Tucker said the General Assembly failed to act on an important piece of CAFO reform legislation this session. House Bill 1044 included air-quality requirements, odor monitoring and increased discretion to IDEM to deny CAFO permits. Industry supporters have said CAFOs don't pose human health risks when properly located and operated.

Fair Oaks Farm in northwest Indiana is under scrutiny after whistleblowers uncovered animal cruelty. Tucker said it's just one example of the need for additional oversight, adding that waste contamination from CAFOs poses health threats to people and the environment.

"If you're at your grandfather's farm and an accident happens or a spill takes place, it's just on a much smaller level," she said. "When you jack things up to the size of a CAFO, you don't have 100 hogs; you've got 5,000 hogs - and you've got neighborhoods, churches and schools nearby. It's a higher-stakes game."

According to Environmental Protection Agency data, the number of new CAFOs in the United States grew nearly 8% between 2011 and 2017. Tucker said policies need to keep pace.

"We are a very agricultural state and we're proud of that, but just because we want to capitalize on our agricultural resources doesn't mean we should be putting our rural communities at risk in the process," she said. "I think that everyone on both sides of the aisle can agree with that."

She is hopeful that state lawmakers will work on bipartisan solutions to expand IDEM's oversight of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Indiana has about 800 CAFOs, the eighth-largest number among states.

Disclosure: Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana/Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
New data show in California, 2021-22 state testing scores are even lower than the state's historically low testing scores. (Rawpixel/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Many of California's 13.5 million children and teens have not bounced back after the pandemic, especially children of color, according to the just-…

Social Issues

Americans continue to report low trust in mainstream media, with many younger than 30 saying they trust information from social media nearly as much …

Social Issues

A Minnesota House committee heard testimony Thursday about the governor's proposed spending plan for education. As these talks unfold, public polling …

From February 2020 to November 2021, the number of workers in nursing homes and other care facilities dropped by 410,000 nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Health-care professionals say low pay and a worker shortage have led a dramatic number of nursing homes in rural Iowa to close their doors. They hope …

Health and Wellness

Health-care professionals and advocates in Connecticut have said it will take sweeping reforms to bolster the state's flailing public health system…

In a national survey, Michigan was ranked 27th among the 50 states for its cost, access and quality of long-term care supports and services. California was ranked first. (Flickr)

Social Issues

In her fifth State of the State address this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized policies designed to put more money in Michiganders' pockets…

Social Issues

By nearly every measure, voter fraud in U.S. elections is rare, but that isn't stopping the Texas Legislature from considering dozens of bills this …

Social Issues

A Republican-sponsored bill in the Arkansas Legislature would make it illegal to circulate petitions at or near polling places during elections…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021