A 180-day moratorium on new concentrated animal feeding operations – or CAFOs – in the Buffalo River Watershed is now in effect, for the third time.
The Arkansas Pollution and Ecology Commission renewed the temporary ban Friday morning.
David Branscum sits in the state House representing the area. Branscum supports the moratorium and the one existing hog farm already along the watershed.
“If you know the family like I do, and I know they are a really good family and they do it right, then I don’t think this one CAFO is going to ever have a damaging effect on the Buffalo River. That being said, I could be wrong. It could over time,” said Branscum.
“But I can promise you this much. With the extensive study that the University of Arkansas is doing if there’s any pollution and it’s going into the river, we will know it.”
Anna Weeks of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel helped initiate the rule-making process. Weeks said the state could be waiting up to four years for the UA study to be complete.
“As far as any developments in the study in the next 180 days those studies are long-term so there wouldn’t be any new results that come out in the next 180 days,” said Weeks.
However, Weeks said the Arkansas Public Policy Panel is optimistic a more-lasting solution is near.
“We are thankful for the Governor’s support of the moratorium and the commission’s decision. We look forward to working with the Governor’s office to move forward with the rule-making process.”
Speaking after an environmental award event in Little Rock on Friday Hutchinson said he supports extending the moratorium period to five years, to allow for more research on the one existing 6,500 capacity swine operation, C&H Hog Farm, in Mt. Judea.
“We need to pass the rule that’s pending the Legislature right now that extends the moratorium, that puts a sunset clause on it, and by then we should have the final completion of the University of Arkansas study,” said Hutchinson.
Opponents of such operations contend the storage of hog waste at industrial swine operations will result in pollution to America’s first National River. The Public Policy Panel is working toward a permanent ban on medium and large scale swine farms in the Buffalo National River Watershed.