Arkansas Panel Endorses Changing Permit Process For Farms Disposing Of Animal Waste

Mar 13, 2018

Credit Jeff Vanuga / Photo courtesy of USDA

A panel of the Arkansas House today approved a bill imposing limits on how and when people can raise challenges to farms that hold special permits to discharge liquid animal waste.

Rep. Jeff Wardlaw said the bill was needed to protect bankers who lend money to farmers.

The Republican lawmaker from Hermitage told the House Public Health Committee on Tuesday that allowing a series of lawsuits over issues raised in public comment periods put the farmers' investments at risk.

Environmentalists said they fear lawmakers want to disrupt their fight against a hog farm located near the Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas.

They said they would give the benefit of the doubt, for now, to lawmakers but promised a challenge later if the hog farm tried to use the proposed law to ward off challenges.

Arkansas lawmakers opened a special session Tuesday. They will also look at reimbursement rates for pharmacists under state-run health insurance programs, among other things.