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.