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Mike Masterson's 5th Editorial,April 9 Democrat - Gazette

12 Apr 2013 4:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
Stuff I Don't Understand, 4/9/13
Mentally Hogtied, Mike Masterson

Another thing I don't understand is how a map contained in permitting records at the state's Department of Environmental Quality in connection with C&H Hog farms Inc. in Mount Judea show a field proposed for spraying hog waste comes as close as 300 feet from what appears to the local school's walking track and athletic field (as a hog walks and swims).

But how could the state agency responsible for protecting our environment and health even consider something like that when these maps are part of their own files? It's even more shocking to me that the director of this agency, Teresa Marks, acknowledged that she didn't know about the notice of intent for this farm until after it was issued.

The whole plan to place an industrial contained animal feeding operation (CAFO) with as many as 6,500 hogs along Big Creek, which flows into the Buffalo National River some five miles distant, is one big ol' environmental quagmire just waiting to happen.

I also can't understand how Cargill Inc. would even consider backing such a venture in the most environmentally sensitive region of Arkansas. I suspect many Arkansans whose voices have yet to be heard feel likewise.

And since our state has granted a permit for this controversial CAFO that envelops the community of Mount Judea and sits along a primary tributary of the Buffalo, doesn't the agency also have a vested interest politically in making sure its decision doesn't look bad later?

I also believe that Cargill and every governmental agency involved with this really bad plan need to rethink what they are about to do here. I know there are now plenty of eyes and voices waiting to remind them of this decision in times to come.

Meanwhile, the state's Pollution Control ad Ecology Commission (parent to the Department of Environmental Quality) will meet at the department's commission room in North Little Rock on April 25 at 9 a.m.

And the Department of Environmental Quality is scheduled to hold a public meeting in Jasper at 6 p.m. on May 8 at the local electric co-op office. But what else can it say after granting the permit? "Hey, it's all legal. Our hands are tied. Nothing to see (or smell) Move along, folks."

This CAFO might be legal. But why is potential mega-polluter with the potential to negatively affect the live of so many, as well as the environmental quality and tourism in our state, even considered legal in this hallowed place?

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