Concerned Citizens of Platte County

Concerned Citizens of Platte County, Missouri is a group of people whose motto is, "We work to protect overall quality of life, children's health, and enhance property values in Platte County." The organization was incorporated in the early 90's and successfully created one of the first County Health Ordinances to regulate confined animal feeding operations, also known as CAFOs or factory farming.[1]

Contents

Board of directors

This organization is run by a board of directors elected for three year terms. The current board consists of, chairman- Alex Asher, vice-chairman- Byron Combs, secretary- Hannah Stevens, treasurer- Antonio Cutulo-Ring , and other directors include Debie Asher, Jackie Stevens, and Susan Brown, including an honorary director, Jean Deal.[2]

Concerns

Energy Related Issues

Across the nation almost 150 coal burning power plants have been proposed, three in Missouri (Weston, Norborne, and Springfield) CCPCs home state, and three in Kansas (Goodland, Holcomb and Kansas City, KS), just on the other side of the Missouri River and Platte County. Not one of these plants has proposed using any kind of renewable energy, instead they pose the threat of using large amounts of water, creating huge landfills of waste, emitting mercury and other health threatening pollution, releasing millions of tons of global warming gasses, and driving up the demand of the price of energy. CCPC believes that energy efficiency and renewable resources can keep electricity rates low, create new jobs and avoid health risks. Their mission is to convince the public and leaders that this is a better idea.[3]

CAFOs

The Concerned Citizens of Platte County oppose the use of industrial livestock operations, namely confined animal feeding operations, CAFOs. They believe that livestock should be grown on a family operated farm, not by a corporately owned business. The majority of livestock operations are independent family farms. CAFOs make up less than 1/2 of 1% of Missouri's farming operations. CCPC believes that elected representatives should be taking steps to protect the property rights of the majority of family farmers and rural landowners, not just the small number of CAFO operators. CAFOs can not be good neighbors in general, in that they cannot provide good jobs, clean water and air, and healthy economies.

According to a United States Environmental Protection Agency study, a CAFO with 4,000 hogs can generate as much waste as a city of 16,000 people. A Class 1A CAFO (17,500 hogs and above) can generate as much waste as the city of St. Louis, that is the smallest registered class. Anything smaller is, by Missouri law, allowed to be within 2,000 feet (610 m) of a residence. Scientists have found that the air of a CAFO constitutes a hazard to public and worker health causing nausea, headaches, runny nose, sore throat, burning eyes, an increase in asthma, brain damage, vomiting, diarrhea, and pulmonary edema.

A study by the University of Missouri found that property values near CAFOs decreased from 6.6% to 88% depending on property attributes and distance from the CAFO. A Missouri study has found that corporate contract operations create a net loss of employment. While creating 9 jobs, they displace 28 jobs. In the past 15 years, hog numbers in Missouri have stayed the same while the number of hog farmers has decreased 85%. The retail price of pork increased 75%, but the hog producers' share of the retail dollar decreased 30%.[4]

Accomplishments

KCP&L

A priority of the Concerned Citizens of Platte County has been to oppose a proposal by Kansas City Power and Light to build two large coal-burning power plants along the Missouri River. By educating the public about their concerns KCP&L agreed to reduce the number of power plants to only one, clean up two existing plants, and offset harmful emissions to the environment by adding wind power and energy efficiency to their portfolio. These proposed offsets will be partially implemented by 2010 and fully implemented by 2012. The parties are also agreeing to work together on a series of regulatory and legislative initiatives to achieve an overall reduction in KCP&L's carbon dioxide emissions of 20 percent by 2020.[5]

David Garcia Award

The Concerned Citizens of Platte County were recently honored with David Garcia Award at 13th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards recognizing their collaborative partnership agreement that set a ground-breaking precedent for clean energy development in the midwest with the Sierra Club and Kansas City Power & Light. The David Garcia Award for Environmental Excellence honors local organizations, businesses or governments who are leaders in collaborating to find solutions to regional environmental issues.

"This agreement shows that we can work together to curb air pollution, combat global warming, and protect our local communities", said Susan Brown, chairperson for Concerned Citizens of Platte County. "The renewable energy investments in this agreement can revitalize the region's manufacturing economy and offer rural landowners a new source of steady income from wind turbines located on their property. The large investment in energy efficiency will also help everyone use less energy-reducing emissions and saving consumers and businesses money each month." [6]

References


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