A judge has found that two members of the Missouri Clean Water Commission violated their duty to be impartial while considering a large hog breeding operation in mid-Missouri.
Tuesday's ruling bars commission chairman Todd Parnell of Springfield and member Ashley McCarty of Novinger from taking part in discussions or votes on an appeal of the issuance of a permit for the proposed Callaway Farrowing LLC breeding farm in western Callaway County, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported.
Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green said Parnell and McCarty sought information outside the legal record during a March 2015 tour of hog operations, driving by the proposed site of the Callaway Farrowing property in separate vehicles. Parnell also asked questions about the project.
The ruling is a victory for Friends For Responsible Agriculture, which is opposed to the hog farm. The ruling could be appealed, but if it is allowed to become final, the commission will be able to vote with five of seven members participating, opponents' attorney Stephen Jeffery said.
Those who would be able to participate include three of the four who voted against a permit for a hog operation near Trenton where similar issues were raised, including whether the company involved was financially strong enough to be responsible for pollution violations, Jeffery said.
Friends of Responsible Agriculture also is suing the commission accusing it of violating the Sunshine Law by not adequately providing notice of the tours. While attorneys for Callaway Farrowing rode along on the tour, opponents received no notice.