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