by Max Brantley
Things are slow. So let's open the evening line early. What'll we do now that the legislature's done? Probably talk about politics:
* SPEAKING OF POLITICS: Sen. Johnny Key won't run for governor, he said today. I never thought he would. He'll continue his seemingly eternal stint in the legislature, where his power continues to accrue. Given what Repubs have done to executive power, it's arguably better to be a senior senator than governor. House Speaker Davy Carter said today he'll do some thinking about running for governor. He had a good session. I wonder: Is Asa Hutchinson for or against the Obamacare expansion approved by 28 Republicans and 49 Democrats/Green.
* WALTON WATCH: A union-backed website, The Walmart 1%, which looks after the objectionable activities of Walmart and the Walton family heirs to the fortune, has a new post up about Arkansas legislators who've benefitted from Walton campaign support. Focus today is Rep. Gary Stubblefield, one of the leaders of the charge to defund Planned Parenthood, along with anti-abortion, anti-Planned Parenthood Sen. Jason Rapert. Says the website:
It’s time for Jim Walton and Walmart to ask for their money back from Stubblefield and, more importantly, to publicly commit to stop funding extremist politicians who are apparently determined to undermine our rights.
They best not hold their breath. The Waltons have other uses for Rapert and Stubblefield than beating down Planned Parenthood and sex education programs, particularly in the field of busting up traditional public schools. There is an ironic angle to this. Sam Walton's wife, the late Helen Walton, was a long-time, if quiet, financial supporter of Planned Parenthood. Perhaps she could have talked to her son about the candidates he supports.
* HOG FARM HEARING: A public hearing has been set on the hog feeding operation approved for the Buffalo River watershed. Can it lead anywhere? Or is it just more state make-nice after approval of the permit. Odds aren't good that the Cargill-backed operation is going away, but more noise can't hurt. Details follow.
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will hold an informational meeting in Jasper on May 8, 2013, to provide information on a permit issued for C & H Hog Farms to operate in Mount Judea.
The meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the Carroll Electric Cooperative building at 511 E Court St., Jasper. ADEQ staff will make a presentation on the permit and will be available to answer questions.
The Department granted coverage in August 2012 to C & H Hog Farms under a General Permit for Concentrated Feeding Operations (CAFOs). C & H Hog Farm, which is under construction, is the first facility that sought coverage under the CAFO General Permit and to date is the only facility that has been approved under the General Permit.
The CAFO permit program was the result of a 2003 lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency that required EPA to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations. States that had delegation from EPA for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit programs were required to either adopt the EPA permit or develop their own permit for concentrated animal feeding operations.
ADEQ held six public hearings in 2011 before adopting the General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Such operations include hog farms, dairy farms and poultry farms. A General Permit is a permit that is applicable for a class or category of similar facilities and has specific conditions and requirements that must be met by any facility seeking such a permit.
Information on the C & H facility can be viewed online at www.adeq.state.ar.us. Viewers should first select databases in the blue tab, then select “ADEQ Facility and Permit Summary (PDS).” To pull up the information, viewers can type “C & H” in the facility name and hit search.