Harrison Daily Times
Geologist wants hog farm suspended, writes letter to ADEQ
Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 2:30 am
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A group opposed to C & H Hog Farms at Mt. Judea has shared a letter from an Arkansas scientist to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality calling for the farm’s permit to be suspended until his concerns are investigated.
A spokesman for the National Parks Conservation Association said the scientist’s concerns are aligned with the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, Arkansas Canoe Club and the Ozark Society over the lack of study of groundwater on and near the site; the lack of discussion of the karst hydrogeology present in the region; and the lack of public notice provided, along with various other issues.
The spokesman was referencing a letter by University of Arkansas professor John Van Brahana, a hydrologist and Certified Professional Geologist
His letter to the ADEQ states: “Although many of the regulations of the NOI appear to have been met (exceptions include the letter from Hank Bates of Carney Bates & Pulliam PLLC), the heart of the regulations undefined the questions of nutrient loading and waste leakage undefined are weak and incomplete and do not give confidence that the NOI plans are adequate for preserving environmental quality. My personal perception is that this document does not satisfy the requirements.
“Coupled with what was perceived as an air of secrecy and a less-than-obvious need for rapid or immediate action, the response of ADEQ in dealing with this project has reinforced the overall feeling that the proposed C & H Hog Farms is a highly risky water-quality endeavor in a fragile, lovely location. Subsequent actions have done little to alleviate those fears. Without addressing these omissions, I, too, have serious reservations.”
Brahana notes that the hog farm is located in an area of karst geologic conditions.
The National Parks Conservation Association spokesman said Brahana plans to propose a research program to assess the water quality of the region, conduct dye-tracing studies to document the point-to-point connections; and map all known karst features from upstream of the farm, down the valley of Big Creek, and below the confluence with Buffalo National River.
He also called for a more transparent and open process about permitting operations for projects similar to the factory hog farm.
Little Rock attorney Hank Bates sent a letter in May to ADEQ director Teresa Marks challenging the factory farm’s permit based upon the Nutrient Management Plan.
Earlier in May, the National Parks Conservation Association, Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, Arkansas Canoe Club and The Ozark Society filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Department of Agriculture over its multi-million dollar loan guarantee to the factory farm, as their actions may have violated the Endangered Species Act.