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Letters: If you care about lakes and water quality, speak up about proposed hog farm

Does the following apply to you?

• Do you use Devils Lake for recreation?

• Does your business profit from Devils Lake tourism?

• Do you own property in the Lake Region?

• Do you live downstream from Devils Lake?

• Are you concerned how a factory farm could affect Devils Lake?

If not, do not read further, this information does not apply to you.

A draft permit has been issued to Grand Prairie Agriculture LLP, a Pipestone System subsidiary from Pipestone, Minn., for a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) west of Devils Lake. The 2,499 sow-hog barns (and piglets) will be located north of Grahams Island State Park, above the Spiritwood aquifer, the region's water supply.

Manure from thousands of pigs will be spread over approved wetland fields that slope into the lake. As recently as 2011, sections of these dumpsites were flooded. Minnesota has seen these effects on their land and water quality.

In 2015, a survey from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency found after a five-year assessment of Minnesota's watersheds, less than 40 percent of surface waters in southern Minnesota are usable for recreation. Why? Elevated levels of E. coli from sewage and manure.

Minnesota has 1,300 CAFOs and is paying the price. It's estimated to take 20-30 years to recover.

Do you want North Dakota to be a wasteland. Seventy-six percent of North Dakotans opposed corporate farms in 2016. This is corporate farming!

The State Health Department is holding two public hearings on Sept. 12 at 1 p.m. at the Spirit Lake Casino and 5:30 p.m. at Lake Region State College. If unable to attend, write to Karl Rockeman, ND Department of Health, Division of Water Quality, 918 E Divide Ave, 4th Floor, Bismarck, ND 58501-1947 or email mharolds@nd.gov.

The public comment period ends Sept. 28. We need to be heard. Your voice is important!

Ranesalo lives in Devils Lake, N.D.

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