To The Herald-Whig:
You may have heard of the huge hog confinement Professional Swine Management (PSM) wants to build just a half mile west of the farm I live on in McDonough County.
You may not have heard about how the vice president of PSM, William Hollis, swore in an affidavit to the Schuyler County Circuit Court in April that he is aware of PSM's financial condition and that using its own money to defend itself in Ward v. PSM "will likely force PSM out of business."
Ward v. PSM was filed by seven of PSM's Hilltop View confinement's neighbors for the horrible odors and other nuisances that come from the confinement.
Yet PSM also claims it has enough money to build an 18,000-hog confinement next to me. What's wrong with this picture?
It is not fair for the Department of Agriculture to allow a company to operate so close to my neighbors and me when it claims it does not have the money to defend a simple civil lawsuit, let alone pay damages to its neighbors if it is found guilty. If the facility goes in and my neighbors and I have to file suit against PSM over lost property value, adverse health effects, and horrible nuisances like flies and odor, will they be too poor to pay us too? Or will they simply go belly up?
I ask you to help protect us from a financially weak company that has repeatedly violated the state's pollution laws, yet continues to build more and more huge, poorly managed, offensive nuisances called hog confinements. Please write the Department of Agriculture, your state senator or representative, or the McDonough County Board. You could be next!
Ramona C. Cook