Vote pushed back on megafarm bill


COLUMBUS — The debate over Ohio Senate Bill 141, which would transfer regulation of large-scale farms to the Ohio Department of Agriculture from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, continues to simmer in the Statehouse and around the state.

      The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee was scheduled to vote on the bill last week, but according to committee chairwoman Rose Vesper, R-New Richmond, that vote has now been postponed until after the Nov. 7 election.

      Opponents held a rally at the Statehouse Sept. 19 to denounce the bill, calling it “weak reform.”

      Vesper expects the bill to be amended to close a loophole that exists in the current version. The current measure reviews only compliance history with state and federal regulations and does not consider compliance with foreign environmental laws.

      S.B. 141, sponsored by Sen. Larry Mumper, R-Marion, passed the Senate on a 27-6 vote May 24.

      The bill gives ODA the authority to issue permits for new construction or remodeling at concentrated animal feeding operations. It would also transfer authority to issue national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permits for agricultural operations.


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