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  • Writer's pictureWCMP

Dozens Gather in Siren for CAFO Protest

Dozens gathered outside the Burnett County Government Center in Siren last week to protest the large-scale hog operation proposed in the Town of Trade Lake.

The fight over this facility has been going on since 2019 when a 26,000 hog operation was proposed by Cumberland LLC.

Protesters donned signs that read "Stop the Squeal" and "Don't Sacrifice Us" - a reference to Trade Lake being considered a "sacrifice zone" or an area impaired by pollution/other environmental impairment.

Howard Pahl told WCMP that those gathered want to renew a focus on the issue.

"What we want to do is we want to protect the way of life in Trade Lake. We want to protect the farming that is going on, we want to protect our lake culture... and we want to keep our lakes as clean as we can."

Many speakers during the rally voiced a distrust with the Iowa-based LLC as well as concerns over groundwater pollution, smell, and impacts on property values.

The rally was held on Tuesday, July 6, before a Land Use and Information Committee meeting.

During the meeting, the committee discussed proposed amendments to Chapter 30 of Burnett County’s Code of Ordinances. The section deals with land use and zoning within the county. Craig Conroy, Vice-Chair of the Land Use and Information Committee, opened the discussion by trying to set some things straight.

"This does not create a sacrifice zone (in Trade Lake). The entire county is a sacrifice zone right now. There is not a square inch of ag land in Burnett County that a CAFO could not apply for."

Conroy went onto say that they could not prohibit the operation, but they can regulate what is put in Burnett County.

Pahl says the group he is a part of has been fighting the CAFO for over two years, and they don't plan on giving up anytime soon. He claims there are clauses in the purchase agreement for the property in Trade Lake that they can cancel the offer to buy if there's enough opposition to it.

"We are hoping that they will (cancel)," Pahl told WCMP. "It's interesting to see the number of people who don't want this. It's not good for the local people in Trade Lake. It's only good for a handful of people in Iowa."

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