Hog manure talks; environmentalists walk on Buffalo River protection rule | Arkansas Blog

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hog manure talks; environmentalists walk on Buffalo River protection rule

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 11:07 AM

A report from the scene indicates supporters of a rule to ban more medium and large concentrated hog feeding operations in the Buffalo River watershed faced a barrage of hositle questions from Farm Bureau advocates and the rule was headed to defeat.

Public Health and Agriculture committees met jointly on the rule, aimed at avoiding another C and H Hog Farm, now hiousing 6,500 swine, in the Buffalo watershed. Opponents fear both groundwater contamination and flooding that could overflow waste pits, along with the smell of such operations in the area, heavily visited by tourists attracted to the national river.

The proposed rule from the Pollution Control and Ecology Commission required approval from 11 members of the House Public Health Committee and 5 from the Senate committee. A quorum of the committees seemed lacking, which doomed the rule, along with scant support from members.

UPDATE: No vote. Which means no rule. Which means a six-month moratorium on such operations granted in October is the last remaining protection for the Buffalo River. To date, the major instigator of CAFOs, Cargill, has said it has plans for no more manure factories in that particular watershed. The good news is that a recent federal court ruling is likely to make future operations more difficult. Judge Price Marshall said federal environmental law requires a better review of potential impact that two federal agencies did in guaranteeing loans for the existing hog farm. A meaningful review seems unlikely to clear a path for many such operations in such a sensitive area.

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