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Court preliminarily halts feedlot expansion near Powell Gardens

  

Valley Oaks Steak Company’s plans to expand their cattle feedlot operation near Powell Gardens has hit another snag as local court issues a preliminary injunction.

On Thursday, the Jackson County Circuit Court in Kansas City, Missouri, issued an order that preliminarily enjoins Valley Oaks from operating a Class size 1B confined animal feeding operation and only allows them to operate an animal feeding operation of under 999 head.

“When balancing the harm to Plaintiffs against the injury an injunction would inflict on Defendants, the Court finds that Plaintiffs’ harm is certainly greater and immediate, than the injury a preliminary injunction would inflict on Valley Oaks,” the court order states.

The Clean Water Commission already revoked Valley Oaks’ permit for the CAFO in December 2018, just months after it was approved.

The plans to expand the feedlot just east of Kansas City were announced in February 2018 and have drawn criticism from neighbors ever since. Valley Oaks wants to expand from a 999 head maximum, which was started in 2016, to a facility that can hold as many as 6,999 head.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources granted the permit for Class size 1B CAFO permit in December 2017. An appeal of that decision, resulted in a state administrative review panel in late October temporarily halting the company’s plans. The Clean Water Commission’s December ruling put a permanent halt to the feedlot expansion.

Valley Oaks appealed to the courts the decision. The court issued a temporary injunction against the feedlots expansion until the case can be resolved.  

The court noted that Valley Oaks presented evidence of financial loss a preliminary injunction would cause. But since they have already agreed to decrease the size of the feedlot the “injury an injunction would inflict upon Defendants is de minimis.”

On the other hand, Powell Gardens and the feedlots neighbors are already experiencing changes in the way they live, according to the order. The court notes the plaintiffs are exposed to so strong odors, and an increase in house and biting stable flies, that they have resorted to staying indoors, thereby limiting the use of their property.

“Based on the facts presented herein, the Court further finds that Plaintiffs have shown a probability of success on the merits for their claims of nuisance and trespass. Public interest in protecting and preserving the environment and this community who have existed on property near Valley Oaks, some for over 30 years, as opposed to Valley Oaks’ CAFO in existence less than three years, favors Plaintiffs and supports injunctive relief at this time,” the order stated.