Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hog feeding operation's peril to Buffalo River

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2016 at 7:39 AM

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Richard Mays,
a Heber Springs lawyer with a career of work in environmental law, has shared with me a presentation he made last week to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission on findings that suggest the C and H hog feeding operation in the Buffalo River watershed could be leaking hog waste.

Here's a link to his presentation. It lays out the situation in clear fashion.

Mays spoke on behalf of the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, the Ozark Society, the Arkansas Canoe Club, the National Parks Conservation Alliance and the Arkansas Environmental Defense Alliance.

A study conducted by an Oklahoma State University scientist — reviewed by peers — suggests hog waste is escaping underneath the farm. Mays' clients want the hog farm operations discontinued until testing can be done to confirm the findings. 

Mays notes the study was completed in late 2014 and made available to a research team commissioned by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to investigate the impact of the hog farm on the environment. Why hasn't this come out before now from ADEQ? Many criticized the department at last week's meeting, which didn't draw broad attention. It's time, some on the commission apparently believe, for the investigators and ADEQ to meet on this and hear any contrary information. Mays said he didn't know if and when that might occur.

He adds: "In the meantime, the public continues to know nothing about this, and with summer coming on, it is possible that some of the contamination could show up in the Buffalo in a very noticeable way."

PS: I just noticed that Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Mike Masterson took note of these findings this morning, with similar concern.

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