The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) is concerned about the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) director evaluation rule approved by the state's Environmental Protection Commission June 19.

The rule gives DNR Director Jeff Vonk more discretion in denying construction permits for livestock barns and requiring modifications of manure management plans.

“Our concern is that pork producers can do everything to meet all of the rules and regulations for growing their operation and the director can still say ‘no,’” says Eldon McAfee, legal counsel for the IPPA.

The DNR promises to follow a limited but specific set of circumstances in choosing to deny a permit or require modifications.

“We hope the director lives up to his statements under which he plans on using his discretion,” says IPPA President Gene Ver Steeg, DVM. “Several of the conditions under which the director can use his discretion are very vague. Vagueness is going to lead to many uncertainties and frustrations.”

The Iowa Legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill in May to block commission action on the rule. IPPA fully supported the measure, but Gov. Thomas Vilsack vetoed the bill. The rule will go to the Legislature's Administrative Rules Committee later this summer for review.