Friday, March 4, 2011

Moyle's "Right to Farm" Legislation

A new aspect of my previous question about the influence of Mike Moyle's mink-farming family on legislation he has introduced has surfaced in the discussion of his "right to farm" legislation. Moyle's "right to farm" legislation cleared the House Agricultural Affairs Committee yesterday and was sent on to the full House with a do pass recommendation.

The following is the statement of purpose for House Bill 210:

Betsy at Eye On Boise summarizes HB 210, the "Right to Farm" legislation, as effort to "protect expansions of feedlots or other agricultural operations from all nuisance lawsuits and zoning ordinances and prohibits local governments from limiting them." Quoting the legislation: “Any such ordinance or resolution shall be null and void and shall have no force or effect." She goes on to point out that Speaker Denney is a farmer and Majority Leader Moyle and Rep. Lake are listed as being in “agribusiness.” Additionally, the AP reports that "opponents say the measure would shield corporate farms from nuisance lawsuits and severely reduce local government control on the growth of feedlot operations."

If nuisance lawsuits and zoning ordinances sound familiar in connection with the Moyle family, they should. Moyle Mink & Tannery in Heyburn has been battling the City of Heyburn for over a year regarding rezoning land for commercial use that would border the agricultural land that Moyle Mink operating their mink farm on. As I pointed out in my previous post, Moyle Mink seems to be afraid that if the Alfresco Parkway land in Heyburn is rezoned and businesses (i.e. hotels and restaurants accessible from the interstate) move into that space, they will eventually face opposition from neighbors offended by the general smell of their operation. The latest in the battle appears to be a move on the part of the City of Heyburn to revise the municipal ordinance related to the rezoning.

Once again the Idaho Legislature seems to be moving in the direction of stripping the rights of local/municipal governments while they decry the rights the federal government supposedly is usurping from the individual states.

Is it simply a coincidence that Rep. Moyle (R-Star) has introduced two pieces of legislation this session that would benefit the many members of the Moyle family who operate mink farms, including the embattled Moyle Mink & Tannery run by Ryan and Lee Moyle? I think not. Is it ethical? I also suspect not. Will the Idaho press or members of the Idaho Legislature take notice and question Moyle about it? Nope, not likely.

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