The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission
this morning renewed a 180-day moratorium on larger animal feding operations
(hog farms) in the Buffalo River watershed.
It's the third time for a vote on temporary bans as studies continue on whether an exsiting large farm near a tributary of the Buffalo is causing any discharges into the groundwater or streams.
The Arkansas Public Policy Panel cheered the decsion, which had been supported by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
“Today’s decision will prevent additional industrial hog farms from opening in the watershed for another 180 days while we continue to work on rulemaking that will protect the Buffalo River for the long term,” said Barry Haas of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel Board.
“We are thankful that Governor Hutchinson supports protections for The Buffalo National River, the crown jewel of Arkansas’ natural heritage and an economic engine,” Haas added. “We look forward to working with the Administration and the General Assembly to ensure this state treasure is protected for future generations.”
The Arkansas Public Policy Panel and the Ozark Society have been attempting since April 2014 to get a rule against hog farms in the watershed. That rulemaking process has broad public support, if not from the corporate agriculture industry and the legislature, where industry pressure has so far prevented a legislative OK.
The existing hog farm at Mount Judea is beyond the reach of any new rule, though its operation continues to be challenged in a federal lawsuit over the insufficient environmental review done before federal support was provided.