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CAFOs no local economic boon

On June 16, the RCJ editorial board panned the new S.D. Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) program pressuring counties to approve large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) as a “heavy finger on the scale as counties weigh the pros and cons” of such facilities.

While I applaud the editorial board’s message, the devil’s in the details. The claimed provision of “low cost meat, milk, and eggs” by CAFOs is not due to “increased efficiencies” but to a network of state and federal subsidies that give substantial advantage to these largely out-of-state and foreign-owned industrial facilities and their associated packers.

The “low cost” of CAFO products is heavily subsidized by taxpayers, and proliferation of factory farms results in the undermining of family farms and rural communities, overwhelming pressure on our local infrastructure, and the despoiling of our clean air and water.

The real economic driver of rural communities is people and families, not industrial development that employs few, pollutes land and water, drives down prices through overproduction — and drives out people who live there.

County officials are recognizing this truth about CAFOs; that’s why they’re increasingly saying “no thanks.” The state should respect the local decision-making process."

Gena Parkhurst

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Rapid City

Let Roe vs. Wade stand

Clear majorities of Americans, including Catholics, want Roe vs. Wade preserved. We do not want courts, police or religious officials forcing a woman early in an unwanted pregnancy to have a baby. When, as Mayor Pete Buttiegieg describes on the campaign trail, a family has picked a name, decorated a nursery, then faces a terminal diagnosis late in pregnancy, we don’t want state legislators dictating the exact circumstances of the baby’s death when the mother consulting her doctors would choose differently.

Anti-abortion activists know this, hence make arguments like the one in this space June 18, describing a horror-movie late pregnancy abortion, as if that describes all abortions. Ironically, activists’ successful efforts to restrict safe legal abortions make late abortions more likely, according the anti-abortion Lozier Institute. Their own study showed women determined not to finish a pregnancy who were young, unemployed, lacked cash and nearby abortion providers, facing legal harassment with medically unnecessary extra procedures, waiting periods, and even requirements to involve male partners whether or not there was still a relationship, were not deterred from abortion, but the delays led to more traumatic late procedures.

Roe vs Wade is a reasonable compromise. Leave it alone.

Peter Hasby

Rapid City

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