By Kelly Kuhn

In a city, you don’t have to look far to find a gas station. Similarly, in a rural area, especially in Indiana, you don’t have to look far to find an industrial livestock operation.

Businesses that own and operate an underground storage tank, like gas stations, are required to pay into a fund. This fund creates financial assurance in the case of a leak or spill. If something happens, there are funds available to clean drinking water, remove contaminated soil, and do anything that must be done to return the area to previous safe conditions.

Businesses that own and operate liquid manure storage pits, like industrial livestock operations, aren’t held to the same standards. If a leak or spill occurs, like the defunct Muncie Sow Unit spill of spring 2009 that released 5 million gallons of manure into the Mississinewa River, there may be no funds to clean up the mess. Hoosier taxpayers spent $200,000 cleaning up the contamination from this spill.

A financial assurance law, like the one that has been introduced in the Indiana Senate (SB 556) and in the Indiana House (HB 1568), would ensure that large livestock operations prove adequate funding to clean up such a mess.

Unfortunately, these bills were not heard in committee. Contact your state legislators and ask them to support a financial assurance amendment. Tell them that you aren’t interested in paying for the negligence of industry.

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