|Once Jay sent it my way, I started asking some Iowans about it. With just the words "hog odor study" the first Iowan I asked exploded with anger and frustration. He said the CAFOs support it and it's a stall tactic. "Really?" I asked, "Then why does Sen. Harkin support it? Usually he's pretty good!" As it turned out, there are TWO studies up for discussion.
The first is by the EPA. This is a study to merely measure pollution of ammonia and other gasses from CAFOs (factory farms). It aims to determine how and whether they can be regulated under the clean air act. And... it's from the Bush administration. I think that's the "stall tactic" study. If so, it's an attempt to study the problem for a loooong time so we can put off doing something about it that the CAFOs don't really like.
The second is by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service. THAT is the one Harkin supports. It aims to find strategies to reduce the smell and nuisance for those downwind of CAFOs. This study is already underway but the Bush administration tried to divert the funds for another purpose. After all... what's the fun in spending money if you aren't giving it to Halliburton in no-bid contracts? So the latest "controversy" is just over putting the money back where it was before Bush got to it, and allowing the study to continue.
I guess when the $1.8 million for the study was introduced to Congress in a $410 billion spending bill, some small-minded Republicans took a very literal view of the word "pork" and thought they were required to object to it.
Still... about the latter of the two studies... is that really what we want? To allow hog CAFOs to carry on with their filthy business, using $1.8 million in federal funds to help them do it? Why can't we make the hog CAFOs spend their own $1.8 million instead of your tax dollars and mine to find a way for them to clean up their acts? Why can't we give that $1.8mil to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to enforce environmental laws when factory farms break them?