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  • 27 Apr 2017 2:17 PM | Anonymous

    Cows, chickens taint Shenandoah River with E. coli  

    • By SARAH RANKIN, ASSOCIATED PRESS 

      RICHMOND, Va. — Apr 26, 2017


      Excessive livestock manure from millions of turkeys, chickens and cows in Virginia is making its way into the Shenandoah River, polluting the scenic waterway with unsafe levels of E. coli, according to a new report from an environmental advocacy group.

      The Environmental Integrity Project analyzed hundreds of state records for the report released Wednesday. In addition to E. coli, which can sicken the swimmers, fishermen and tubers who flock to the river, the report also found elevated levels of phosphorous, which contributes to the growth of algae blooms and low-oxygen "dead zones."

      "The Shenandoah Valley is a place of incomparable beauty and cultural value, but its continued health is at risk," says the report, which suggests the state's manure management system isn't adequately protecting human health or water quality and is undermining Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts.

      The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, which has some 3,500 members, pushed back against the report, calling it "an opinion piece" that aims to paint agriculture in a bad light.

      The report focuses on four counties in the bucolic Shenandoah Valley watershed that are also home to a large-scale farming industry.

      Together, farmers in Augusta, Page, Rockingham and Shenandoah counties raise more than 172 million chicken and turkeys a year and more than half a million dairy and beef cows, the report says. Those animals generate more than 410,000 tons of poultry litter and about 1 billion gallons (3.8 billion liters) of liquid manure a year.

      Most of that is spread on surrounding farmland, the report found. But pollution management plans, also called nutrient management plans, are only required for large livestock operations, which account for only 12.5 percent of the farmland in those counties, the report says.

      The report found that more than 90 percent of the water quality monitoring stations where the state regularly samples the river and its tributaries detected E. coli at levels unsafe for human contact over the past two years.

      Furthermore, the state's manure control system allows manure containing far more phosphorous to be applied than the crops need, according to the report. That manure can leak into groundwater or wash into surrounding streams when it rains, eventually making it to the Shenandoah, which joins the Potomac that empties into the Chesapeake Bay.

      Herschel Finch, a fisher, kayaker and the conservation chairman of the Potomac River Smallmouth Club, said when he moved to the Shenandoah Valley in 1977, the fishing was fantastic.

      But in the past 15 years or so, he began to see fish die-offs and excessive algae growth.

      "There are sections where it's just completely unproductive to go fish anymore because the algae is taking up all the oxygen and the fish just can't survive," he said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.

      When the fish aren't there, fishermen stay away too, and Finch said he's seen tourism-related businesses shut down.

      When it comes to E. coli, Virginia should do a better job of issuing public advisories about the elevated levels, the report advises.

      "The state issues public advisories warning beachgoers to stay out of the ocean when bacteria levels do not meet the recreational standard. But the state provides no such notice when the Shenandoah Valley and other rivers and streams are contaminated, even when E. coli levels are more than 100 times the recreational limit," it says.

      Bill Hayden, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Quality, said the state health department is responsible for deciding when and where to notify the public about water quality. The health department didn't respond to requests for comment about the state's policies.

      Hayden said no one at the agency had reviewed the report yet, so he couldn't comment on the specifics.

      He said there's always room for improvement in the state's nutrient management program, but Virginia has seen an overall improvement in bacterial contamination in the Shenandoah River basin.

      Wilmer Stoneman, director of commodities and marketing for the Farm Bureau Federation, said farmers face stringent regulations and are doing more than ever to improve conservation overall.

      "This is an opinion piece that tries to paint agriculture in a bad light," said Stoneman, who has been the federation's point person on water quality and environmental issues for 22 years. "It's springtime, so let's do a bad agriculture story."

      Waste-water treatment, residential runoff and wildlife also impact water quality, he said.

      "We understand farming is part of the Shenandoah heritage and way of life ... But the public has the right to know when that water isn't safe to enjoy," said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project.

      Schaeffer was formerly the director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's office of civil enforcement. He founded the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project, which advocates for effective enforcement of environmental laws.

  • 24 Apr 2017 7:06 AM | Anonymous

    Suggestions for Asa


    Governor Hutchinson: If you intend to allow C&H to remain near the Buffalo National River, I have a few suggestions that might save the state some money.


    First off, let's fire the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality staff geologists. They apparently weren't needed when the agency processed the original permit. If a major swine operation sited in the karst geology of a national river doesn't require attention from these guys, for what other reason would we ever possibly need them?


    Also, Governor, what about the department bypassing the construction permit for C&H? Some folks are saying that it wasn't legal, but since everything seemed to work out OK, let's just dissolve the Department of Environmental Quality altogether. We could sell that nice office building to someone who could get some good out of it. And in regard to the Big Creek Research and Extension Team study, I'll bet we could just hand that off to Farm Bureau. It seems those guys are calling the shots anyway. I suspect they will run it for free, plus I'm thinking that Farm Bureau will likely meet your personal "sound science" standards.


    We're saving lots of money here, Governor, but those nasty algae blooms certainly aren't going to improve any. We need to rebrand those things so maybe the tourists won't catch on. Perhaps something less emotional. How about "Asa Blooms"?


    BRIAN THOMPSON

    Fayetteville

  • 23 Apr 2017 8:21 AM | Anonymous

    Rally at Capitol promotes science

    Trump policies rile many attendees

    By Scott Carroll 

    This article was published today at 2:53 a.m.

    NWAOnline


    Johnny Sain spent his childhood listening to the song of the whippoorwill, learning the difference between harmless and venomous snakes and examining "critters" that his grandfather caught for him and kept in a jar.

    He didn't have a college degree or a white coat. Just his curiosity.

    "I was an observer," Sain said. "Of course, I had no credentials. But I was, by the most basic definition, a scientist."

    Sain, a conservationist and interim executive director of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, joined many actual scientists at the Arkansas Capitol on Saturday afternoon as part of a global rally to promote science and reason. Outdoorsmen, engineers and medical researchers were among more than 1,000 people who participated in Little Rock.

    Many were protesting the policies of President Donald Trump, who has called global warming a hoax and proposed cutting the budgets of the federal Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent and the National Institutes of Health by 18 percent. The president has proposed cuts to most federal agencies, even eliminating some, to offset an increase in defense spending and to promote private enterprise in the public sector.

    Dozens of rally attendees carried signs that were critical of the Trump administration. One said "Make America Think Again," a play on Trump's campaign slogan. Another sign called for "evidence, not alternative facts."

    Nora Simmons of Conway was among those who said Trump's policies on science and the environment were concerning.

    "We believe in science, and without science everything around us doesn't exist," she said. "It's important that our government understands that we don't want science funding cut and we want our environment protected."

    Rally participants chanted "science not silence" as they marched west on Capitol Avenue in Little Rock.

    Researchers from UAMS Medical Center and Arkansas State University at Jonesboro were among those who spoke to attendees Saturday.

    The Arkansas Sierra Club, a chapter of a national conservation group, organized the march.

    "Yes, science matters," said Glen Hooks, director of the Arkansas Sierra Club. "But I'm not seeing that it matters enough to our elected officials and our decision makers. I'm seeing our elected leaders actively ignoring science and governing by anecdote instead of using facts and data. I've seen our elected officials actively deny that our human activities are causing the climate to warm, even though virtually every climate scientist on earth says that's what happening."

    For Simmons, the march was more than political. It was personal.

    She said her son was born with omphalocele, a birth defect in which a child's liver, intestines or other organs develop outside the abdominal wall.

    It's a rare condition that's often fatal. But he survived.

    "Without medical science," Simmons said, "he would not be alive."

    Metro on 04/23/2017

    Print Headline: Rally at Capitol promotes science



  • 22 Apr 2017 6:55 AM | Anonymous

    On 'sound science'

    Consider data sources on Buffalo


    By Gordon Watkins Special to the Democrat-Gazette

    Posted: April 22, 2017 at 2:18 a.m


    NWAOnline


    Governor Hutchinson: We appreciated your letter of April 14 regarding the C&H operation. We agree with your sentiments regarding the value of the Buffalo National River as well as the importance of sound science for informing good decisions, but we respectfully contend that the sources of your scientific information are inadequate and politically tainted.


    Consider the Department of Environmental Quality, which serves as the state's nonpartisan source for reliable environmental science. Regrettably, its reputation was harmed by the mere act of issuing the C&H permit, especially without public notice or the requisite construction permit. As a result, the standard geological review by a staff geologist was bypassed. If a permit for a large industrial CAFO in a geologically sensitive watershed, which flows into our national river, is not significant enough to require review by a staff geologist, what permit would trigger such review?

    Further, engineering guidance provided by the Agricultural Waste Management Field Handbook, a key regulatory document, was ignored when the permit was first reviewed. 


    The agency has irreparably discredited itself scientifically.


    Consider the Big Creek Research and Extension Team, whose role you emphasized as being of key importance in assessing the impact of the hog farm. Gov. Mike Beebe enlisted the UA School of Agriculture, which then created the Big Creek team, to monitor the environmental impact of the hog farm. Later the Cooperative Extension Service joined the team. The service primarily assists farmers, which creates an unavoidable conflict of interest for the team between its original mandate to monitor versus now, the role to help C&H succeed.


    Early on, the Big Creek study was reviewed by an independent panel of experts who noted a number of shortcomings, including that the team was not sampling Big Creek during storm events, times which typically result in nutrients and pathogens being washed from the fields into the streams. The panel pointed out that the team was conducting tests under conditions that were less likely to reveal a problem. This and other panel recommendations were discounted. Most egregious however was the team's withholding of the controversial taxpayer-funded electrical resistivity imaging pond data for over a year until our organization stumbled upon it and made it public.


    The team's credibility was severely damaged and its priorities are now in doubt.


    In response to that scandal, the Department of Environmental Quality hired Harbor Environmental to drill a single hole near the C&H ponds. It ignored numerous credible scientists, including the project's own independent geologist, who advised them that a single hole was inadequate to determine much of anything. M.D. Smolen, Ph.D., with 35 years of experience in water quality management said: "Although leakage from the ponds has not been confirmed to date, any seepage or direct leakage from the ponds would be transmitted to groundwater and ultimately to the Buffalo River. The fact that Harbor Environmental did not confirm any ground water contamination is not conclusive because they only drilled one hole." When its report was completed, the department forbade direct communication between Harbor and the scientific community or the public. Whether Harbor did good work or not, the results were tainted by the way the department controlled the process, which further solidified its deteriorating scientific credibility.


    Governor, you have characterized the public as "emotional," but two to three million gallons of raw hog waste disposed of on fields upstream of our national river is certainly going to elicit a strong public response. Threats to treasured wild places do that. But the fact is that real science is validating the public's concerns. The National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey agree that Big Creek is now impaired for dissolved oxygen, a sign of nutrient overloading. The Big Creek team's own data shows elevated nitrate levels. Dr. JoAnn Burkholder, a William Neal Reynolds distinguished professor, says: "The data clearly indicate that the C&H CAFO is contributing swine waste pollution to adjacent public trust waters. The nitrate levels downstream from this CAFO commonly are levels that have been shown in other research to be toxic to sensitive aquatic life."


    The data also show elevated levels of E. coli, which as you know has human health implications. Dr. Burkholder notes: "These data indicate that the C&H CAFO is discharging E. coli bacteria which are contributing to the pollution of Big Creek in the CAFO area and downstream waters."


    Governor, we simply don't have the space here to show you all of the real science. We recently submitted nearly 100 pages of comments to the Department of Environmental Quality. Our scientific sources are well-credentialed, reliable, and nonpartisan. Your current sources are pandering to special interests and are insufficient to properly inform your decisions. For the sake of our national river, its ecology, and the powerful tourism economy that it supports, please don't gamble. Look beyond your current sources for truly "sound science."

    ------------v------------

    Gordon Watkins is president of the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance.

    Editorial on 04/22/2017

  • 21 Apr 2017 3:29 PM | Anonymous

    Arkansas Matters



    Buffalo National River Tourism Boosts Local Economies

    Posted: Apr 21, 2017


    HARRISON, Ark. (News release) – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,785,358 visitors to Buffalo National River in 2016 spent $77,556,600 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,200 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $90,199,700.

    “Buffalo National River welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Kevin Cheri. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning more than $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

    The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion.

    According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).

    Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: go.nps.gov/vse.

    The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

    To learn more about national parks in Arkansas and how the National Park Service works with Arkansas communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/arkansas.

  • 21 Apr 2017 9:19 AM | Anonymous

    Watch broadcast here:  NWAHomepage.com


    Buffalo National River Trying To Change Tarnished Reputation


    By: Scott Brewster 

     

    Northern Arkansas--- The Buffalo National River spans 153 miles through the heart of Northern Arkansas. 


    A National Park Service Report shows that visitors to the Buffalo River 











    spent over $77 million last year in communities near the national park.











    That money supported 1,200 jobs in the area, and boosted the local 













    economy by over $90 million.


    That flow of tourism money could soon dry up if things don't change with the Buffalo River.









    It's beginning to have a new, tarnished reputation.
















    The Buffalo National River is a hot bed for outdoor lovers, but now it's in 
















    the national spotlight for something else.


    "I've probably had as many letters about the Buffalo River since I've been governor as any topic, and that says a lot," Governor Asa Hutchinson said. 

     

    The American Rivers Association just released it's annual list of the most endangered rivers in the United States. 


    Cracking the top ten, The Buffalo River sits at number 9.

     

    "There's really two factors," Brian Haggard said. "One is the C and H Hog Farm that we've all heard a lot about that's been in the press and  newspapers and the other reason is the potential cuts to the Department of the Interior in the National Park Service."

     

    Brian Haggard is the Director for the Arkansas Water Resource Center and he says President Trump's recent proposed cuts to the EPA could make the matter worse. 

     

    "Something's going to have to give and a lot of times that might be data collection or land management or who knows what impact it might have on the Buffalo River," Haggard said. 

     

    Haggard says the biggest risk for those on the water especially those using a kayak or canoe is the potential risk of them coming into contact with hog waste.

     

    "From a human health perspective what we'd be concerned with would be bacteria in particular e-coli," Haggard said. 

     

    C and H Hog Farm produces about 80,000 hogs a year, which is equivalent to the waste produced by about 30,000 people. 

     

    that waste is causing the water quality to decline due to runoff.  

     

    KNWA has been following this story for years, and we previously spoke with the owner of the hog farm, who says he's been following all state regulations. 

     

    "These fields that we have have been fertilized for years and years," Jason Henson, Co-Owner of C&H Hog Farm said. "We have rules and regulations on how much we can put out and when we can put it out, and how we can put it out."

     

    Regardless of what's causing the river to be endangered, Haggard says we have to always be aware of what we're doing when it comes to protecting the environment. 

     

    "We have to realize that anything that we do as humans in the landscape, it's going to have an impact on our water resources," Haggard said. 

     

  • 18 Apr 2017 5:52 AM | Anonymous

    How committed to Buffalo River is the governor?


    Gov. Hutchinson’s guest column in the Democrat-Gazette on April 14, declares his allegiance to the protection of the Buffalo River. There are some major holes in this commitment.

    The establishment of the Beautiful Buffalo River Action Committee and the Buffalo River Water Management Plan are clearly limited in scope as said entities do not appear to address the very real concerns of hog factory farming in the sensitive karst terrain of the Buffalo River watershed.

    While the Buffalo River Management Plan is a welcome opportunity for people to collaborate on many levels, the facilitators of the Buffalo Water Management Plan clearly stated at both of the public meetings held Dec. 9 and March 30 that hog factory farming is beyond the developing water management’s plan scope. Hog factory farming will not be addressed by the water management plan.

    Yet it is clear that committee and management plan would not have been created had it not been for the hog farm controversy and numerous public expressions. The National Park Service and the United States Geological Survey have submitted substantial and credible data to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality that indicates likely impairment on Big Creek where the current hog factory farm sits. Yet the committee and management plan have not addressed this data, which was a large part of the impetus for forming these entities.

    Perhaps the governor does wish to protect this remarkable natural resource and the tourism industry resulting from the Buffalo River. To sincerely show his commitment he would look at all the science and direct the Department of Environmental Quality to deny the Regulation 5 permit for C&H hog factory and create a permanent moratorium on large-scale hog factory farming in the Buffalo River watershed.


    GINNY MASULLO

    Fayetteville

  • 18 Apr 2017 5:21 AM | Anonymous

    Our governor admits that his passion for the Buffalo River colors his response to the available science. First he says, "Science, not emotion, must drive our approach to protecting the Buffalo National River." A bit later he says, "My love for our state and my passion to protect our water compels me to ensure that the studies are scientific and impartial."

    Unfortunately for the river, love and passion are not the measures by which science is ensured. Unbiased rigorous study design and adherence to set protocols are the basis of true science. Despite assurances from the Department of Environmental Quality and Big Creek Research and Extension Team reports, the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, Karst Hydrogeology of the Buffalo National River, and Arkansas Game and Fish all beg to differ in their reports of impairment.

    If wishes were fishes, the river would be swimming with healthy organisms and species. Instead, the USGS shows the tributary next to the C&H CAFO is alarmingly low in dissolved oxygen that allows smallmouth bass to breathe and flourish. The Department of Environmental Quality ignores the data, claiming it's too much information to process. Although the Big Creek research team reported high nitrate levels and peaks in phosphorus that promote stringy algae blooms that obscure the clear waters downstream, it continues to repeat that the water is okay.

    We applaud our governor's love for the Buffalo, but ask him to keep an eye on the science, read the Regulation 5 comments on the Department of Environmental Quality's website from the Buffalo National River superintendent, the Ozark Society, Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, noted geologists, and former Environmental Quality employees.

    Sometimes, Governor, your closest advisers are not your most objective sources of impartial information.

    MARTI OLESEN

    Ponca

    Editorial on 04/18/2017


  • 18 Apr 2017 5:19 AM | Anonymous

    I thank the governor for his piece in this paper on Friday. I wondered where he stood on the commercial hog operation in the Buffalo River watershed. Now I know, and I'm deeply disappointed.

    I share his views on private land use but wonder what in his opinion are the "rare circumstances" that would justify restrictions. He must oppose eminent domain, and it appears he would have opposed preserving the Buffalo River in the first place. Indeed, our national river came at a great cost--the private land rights of hundreds of Arkansans. (A good read is Stolen Water, Forgotten Liberties by Jenny Barnes Butler of Conway.) We forced people off their ancestral land for the greater good; now we insult them and all in the Natural State by not denying a large commercial operation that will eventually damage this natural treasure.

    The governor claims the decisions of the Department of Environmental Quality are "scientifically and environmentally sound." I couldn't disagree more.

    To read his piece one would think all the science is on the side of the hog operation and nothing but emotions are on the side of the river proponents. I remind him that geology is a science, and it is not on his side. I found his words to be arrogant and condescending.

    As to his feelings about the Buffalo, I found his words to be empty and his actions insufficient.

    Not mentioned was the economic impact to the state. I can't remember in my 67 years a case where so much was put at such great risk for so little benefit.

    I feel the governor shows a lack of foresight and even political astuteness--and if I am wrong there, then there is the question of courage. I guess I need to work on those things myself since I voted for him.


    DAVID T. JONES

    Heber Springs

  • 18 Apr 2017 5:15 AM | Anonymous

    Governor’s response

    The unimpressed

    By Mike Masterson

    Posted: April 18, 2017 at 2:27 a.m.


    NWAOnline


    I was surprised to see Gov. Asa Hutchinson's response on the Voices page last week to my open letter in a column that ran last April (republished two weeks ago). I'd appealed to his role as the chief protector of our Buffalo National River to stop the inevitable contamination from hog waste continuously being spread by C&H Hog Farms on fields along Big Creek, a major tributary of the Buffalo.

    I'm sharing only three edited reactions to Hutchinson's letter from informed citizens and scientists who've invested years of research and personal resources toward protecting the country's first national river.

    Science indeed leads 

    Gordon Watkins, head of the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance: "Many have been asking the governor to make the C&H owners whole by buying them out. Making this a 'property rights' issue only makes resolution more difficult. ... Because there was no public notice, ADEQ's errors went unchallenged until it was too late," he said.

    "When the governor writes: 'Science, not emotion, must drive our approach,' he's parroting the Farm Bureau. Yes, science should indeed lead. Then he says, 'The science tells me there's no evidence of a release from the storage ponds.' Any scientist will tell him this is an invalid conclusion based on a single bore hole.

    "Science does indeed show evidence of negative impact to Big Creek, whether from the ponds or, more likely, from the waste spreading fields. Hard data collected by the Big Creek Extension Research Team, the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as geoscientist Dr. John Van Brahana, all are sounding alarms.

    "Again, the Farm Bureau seems to be whispering in his ear and cherry-picking data ... . If the governor will read our 98 pages of comments he'll find plenty of facts and science-based arguments.

    "The governor also says work has progressed on a watershed management (WMP) plan to help identify opportunities for protecting and enhancing the Buffalo watershed. At the last WMP meeting, Big Creek was conspicuously absent from the proposed list of priority streams where attention would be focused until public objections compelled the contractor to reluctantly include that major Buffalo tributary. At every turn, relevant state agencies are looking the other way rather than confronting the obvious source of the problem.

    "Hutchinson says, 'the drilling study evaluated the integrity of C&H's pond liners.' That's mistaken. That study looked only at a single anomaly while specifically avoiding any comprehensive evaluation of pond integrity.

    "Finally the governor says, '... public and private projects are now being advanced to focus on protection and preservation.' Yet he emphasizes their voluntary, 'nonregulatory' focus. Valid protection of the Buffalo requires regulatory changes."

    Peer-reviewed science 

    UA geosciences professor emeritus John Van Branaha, an expert on karst geology, has worked closely with at least eight other scientists and specialists to voluntarily study potential environmental effects of the hog factory on the watershed.

    Brahana cited his peer-reviewed scientific findings: "First water flows downhill, always following the path of least resistance. which in karst terrain is underground. Spreading fields underlain by karst receive feces and urine from 6,500 hogs.

    "Groundwater samplings from wells and springs near the fields show increasing trends of contaminants. Dye tracings from selected sites close to the fields show rapid transmission of groundwater, typically 2,000 feet daily. Dye tests following heavy rains when groundwater levels are elevated show the flow moves beneath surface water divides to reach springs, wells and streams. The tests also show groundwater during high flow events moved to the Buffalo River downhill from where dye was input."

    Brahana said such significant findings and more have previously been sent to the governor and others without being addressed. He also hopes the governor will show enough interest to invest an hour with him to review the documented science and related presentation he shared at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute during our recent workshop together. Why wouldn't the governor?

    Much science presented 

    Carol Bitting (aka the watershed warrior): "The governor writes he's made sure the public and regulatory agencies have all the facts. Specifically, he says he's directed funding toward two separate and impartial scientific studies around C&H Hog Farms.

    "His statement is so similar to those of the Pork Producers' Jerry Masters and Evan Teague of the Farm Bureau that it sheds light on why he cites only two studies, while the ADEQ's own 1990s study of hog CAFOs in the Buffalo watershed is ignored.

    "The algae photographs of last September reveal truth of the Buffalo's pollution. The Beautiful Buffalo River Action Plan excludes permitted facilities. Does the governor think we believe 6,500 hogs producing eight times the amount of waste as one human then spread over sinkholes and fractures year around doesn't make its way to the river?

    "Many scientific documents have been submitted, including reputable scientific data. To base the scientific 'evidence' on two studies (each designed outside state agency handbook recommendations) while excluding all the relevant science here makes me wonder how, and why, the governor can release a statement such as this."

    ------------v------------

    Mike Masterson's column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Email him at mmasterson@arkansasonline.com.

    Editorial on 04/18/2017


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