Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Testing Subsidiarity: the Mega-Farms

Here's an item which will be interesting to watch.

Adams and seven neighbors, along with the town of Magnolia, sued the state and the farm in the first case of its kind to reach a state supreme court and the result could set a precedent throughout the Midwest. Similar cases have been filed in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma, and two juries in Missouri have already handed out multimillion-dollar awards to homeowners who complained of intolerable odors from so-called factory farms.

At the same time, several states have passed or are considering laws that would make it easier for big farms to get permits. Lawmakers say the move creates uniformity, allowing farms to expand under predictable circumstances, and strengthens one of the few industries that didn't tank in the recession.
Critics argue the laws deprive residents of a voice.

"A township should have the right to establish guidelines to keep its people safe, but it doesn't," said Adams, 61. "Those of us who are being affected, it's like there's nothing we can do."

Let's grant that there are some subtleties in both arguments which are not being captured by the newspaper's story, but we'll take the main themes as essentially correct.  The question, then, is whether the State can impose its own  standards on a given subsidiary (township/city...whatever.)
Think about it this way:  if you think your local school district should be able to set its own standards, then you have to agree (to some extent, anyway) with the position of Magnolia and its residents.

On the other hand, should locals be able to 'zone out' certain businesses?

1 comment:

Deloras said...

Property protection plans for neighboring property owners are needed - those who are harming others need to be held accountable.
Yes, the state needs to get out of the way and let the locals decide.