As the Missouri Legislature wraps up its 2016 session, language is being folded into several bills that critics say would make it easier for out-of-state companies to establish “shell corporations” and build feeding operations for swine near homes and established businesses.
At issue is whether the companies have what’s called “continuing authority” — what opponents of concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, say is necessary to ensure that a company has enough assets in Missouri and won’t leave if there is a catastrophe.
Under one change proposed in the Legislature, a corporation, partnership, limited liability company or other business organization would need only to be in good standing with the state to meet “continuing authority” requirements.
That has certain groups rooting around to try to stop the moves, including the Missouri Rural Crisis Center and Friends of Responsible Agriculture, who say the bills limit the accountability and liability of these companies and allow CAFOs to overtake family farmers and rural communities.
The language was in at least three bills as of Monday. House Bill 2376, which deals with construction permits, has continuing authority language. So do HB 1588, which would waive certain reporting requirements for some farms; and HB 1827, which deals with livestock owner liability. Similar language has also been added to Senate Bill 937, which is now in a House committee.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch