State offers eastern Indiana hog farm deal over fish kill
RIDGEVILLE, Ind. (AP) — An eastern Indiana hog farm tied to a large fish kill would plant more than 500 trees as an air emissions buffer and pay a $1,000 fine under a settlement proposed by the state environmental agency.
Aaron Chalfant Farms sprayed 200,000 gallons of hog manure onto a field upstream of the June 2010 fish kill near the Randolph County town of Ridgeville. Nearly 108,000 fish died in the Mississinewa River and a tributary, according to state officials.
The proposed agreed order calls for a civil penalty of $5,000, with all but $1,000 waived for Chalfant to plant the tree buffer to reduce particulates and odors coming from the 4,000-hog operation, The Star Press of Muncie reported last week.
The order doesn’t blame the farm for the fish kill in the area about 20 miles east of Muncie.
Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) spokesman Barry Sneed said the agency can’t discuss the settlement until the farm owner agrees to it. Chalfant said a final settlement hadn’t yet been reached with the environmental agency.
Chalfant told inspectors no rain was forecast when the manure was applied to the field. Nearly an inch of rain fell that night, and more fell in the following days.
An Indianapolis consultant employed by Chalfant told IDEM it was impossible that ammonia from manure applied by Chalfant’s contractor caused the fish kill.
The environmental agency case involves possible water quality violations, while the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has a separate investigation involving the fish kill that isn’t included in the proposed settlement.
Officials pave way for new Ohio ‘racino’
LEBANON, Ohio (AP) — Commissioners in a Cincinnati-area county have further paved the way for construction of a new “racino.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Warren County commissioners approved a special taxing district for the track that will combine horse racing and slot machines. It’s expected to bring 700 jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue to the area.
Sale of the 120-acre property to Miami Valley Gaming & Racing of Buffalo, N.Y., is pending. The land was formerly a state prison farm. The existing Lebanon Raceway would move from the Warren County Fairgrounds in Lebanon to the new location.
The Ohio Lottery Commission said it’s one of five racinos pending approval.
Empty barn burns at horse farm, among Kentucky fires
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Fire has destroyed an empty barn at a prominent horse farm in Jessamine County.
Tom Hamm, general manager of 1,200-acre Taylor Made Farm, told WKYT employees responding to the Thursday morning fire knew the barn was empty. Hamm said they focused efforts on getting horses out of a neighboring barn in case the fire spread.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
In other fire news, law enforcement officials say they have no leads yet in a series of barn fires in the Bluegrass region. According to WKYT-TV, the fires were set last week in Harrison, Nicholas and Bourbon counties.
In Cynthiana, Harrison County Sheriff Bruce Hampton said he believes more than one person is involved. Hampton said one farmer lost his entire tobacco crop, valued at about $20,000. At least five barns have been torched in Harrison County alone.
Police are asking residents in the area to report suspicious activity.
FSA extends emergency grazing to Nov. 30
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced emergency grazing provisions have been extended for certain practices under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) until Nov. 30.
The practices are being extended in response to the critical need for livestock forage due to the ongoing drought. Extensions are not authorized for the following practices: CP8A, Grass Waterway-Noneasement; CP23, Wetland Restoration; CP23A, Wetland Restoration, Non-Floodplain; CP27, Farmable Wetlands Pilot Wetland; CP28, Farmable Wetlands Pilot Buffer; CP37, Duck Nesting Habitat; and CP41, FWP Flooded Prairie Wetlands. Emergency haying is not extended.
Authorized producers can use the CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of the CRP acreage. Additional information is available at www.fsa.usda.gov
‘Fracking’ water meeting in eastern Ohio Wednesday
SENECAVILLE, Ohio — The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) has planned a meeting for 6 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Robert T. Secrest Senior Center, 201 High St. in Senecaville, to inform citizens about requests from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, companies to buy water from reservoirs along the Muskingum River.
The river drains a fifth of Ohio in the middle of oil and gas country. OEC reported the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) has approved several requests to buy water, and more are expected. It says five million gallons or more of water are used to “frack” a single well.
According to OEC, the purpose of the meeting is to inform the public and allow comment on proposed water sale and drilling leases. For more information, visit www.mwcd.org and follow the MWCD on Facebook and Twitter.