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Proposed Hog Farm On Buffalo River Generates Large Grassroots Response

By: Grant Scarsdale
Posted: Monday, March 04, 2013

The news of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality granting a hog farm a permit to operate within the watershed of the Buffalo National River has sparked a large out-pouring of criticism toward the application process.  Many people, including Buffalo River Superintendent Kevin Cheri, feel the process of the C&H Hog Farm permit’s application and approval was pushed through without proper public stakeholder notification and comment period. 

Superintendent Cheri said that this situation will compare to the Mill Creek Sewage problem that has plagued the Middle Buffalo River for years.  He said, like the Mill Creek sewage run-off, it will be inevitable that pollution from the proposed hog farm will result in public health warnings for parts of the Buffalo River. 

A new National Park Service report for 2011 shows that the 1,169,802 visitors to Buffalo National River spent $38,232,000 in communities surrounding the park.  This spending supported 528 jobs in the local area. 

A public health warning for one part of the river affects tourism on the entire river. Superintendent Cheri said people decide to vacation and spend their money elsewhere when public health warnings are issued for the Buffalo River and, "when people hear about a warning on the Buffalo River, they decide to avoid the entire river altogether.  The money generated by the hog farm and the few jobs it would create would not come close to the  potential loss of jobs and tourism money that is vital to the rural communities surrounding the Buffalo River."

Thanks to social media and a local grassroots movement of supporters of the Buffalo National River, a large crowd is expected to attend the Newton County Quorum Court meeting scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. at the Newton County Courthouse in Jasper, Arkansas.

Comments (10) - comment on this story

Destin Layton - 03/04/2013 12:18:50 PM
This is terrible news. Please let us know what we can do to help prevent this from happening.
Grassroots Activist - 03/04/2013 2:23:02 PM
You can sign a petition to Arkansas Governor Beebe at the following link: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-state-of-arkansas-keep-america-s-first-national-river-the-buffalo-river-clean-and-pristine
Jimmy - 03/04/2013 7:32:20 PM
So a million people do not present a problem to river polution? But a 6300 hog farm does! Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.
Corey - 03/05/2013 6:04:36 AM
Big farm, big pollution, big money, big lies,that's corporate farming. Problem is they keep the money, and leave locals with the crap. Don't let them buy you cheap. THIS PLACE IS SPECIAL BECAUSE WE HAVE TRASHED THE REST OF THE COUNTRY! Travel ANYWHERE ELSE, and see for yourself.
Corey - 03/05/2013 7:23:51 AM
Just found this online. Contact water-draft-permit-comment@adeq.state.ar.us. Engineers name who approved this is Stephen Hoggen.
A. Butler - 03/05/2013 10:18:12 AM
@ Jimmy. Yes all the human traffic does have an effect on the river. So why add to it? This Hogg farm will fail one day, then the Buffalo will Be lost..
Josh Luedke - 03/11/2013 12:32:47 PM
Wow that's horrible the Buffalo was one of my favorite an always liked how clean it was please don't let them do that an I know at least 10 or 15 ppl that would also feel the same, that's just off the top of my head
Jim Nighswonger - 03/12/2013 12:46:08 PM
The Illinois River in NE Oklahoma has been ruined by confined poultry operations and processing plants. Don't let something similar happen to the Buffalo! The runoff from the fields fertilized with the waste will be very polluted with nutrients. Spraying animal waste on grassland in the Ozark Plateau is a disaster waiting to happen. The hills are steep, the soil thin and underlain with porous limestone and characterized by karst topography. Nutrient laden runoff will end up in the river causing algae growth and health hazards.
Mark - 03/19/2013 7:49:16 PM
I live in Newton County & was raised on the river. The following are facts & information has been gathered for making an informed statement. This entire permit application/approval process was kept entirely secret from the majority of Newton County residents & the National Park Service. We feel betrayed & violated by the ADEQ/USDA systems & a handful of local residents (including elected ones). It's not a question of "if" a failure/contamination occurs, but "when" it happens. These hog waste lagoons will be clay bottom. The number of ponds in Newton County which fail on a regular basis is too many to count. It's directly due to the geological structuring of the area (karst topography), which is the same as the location of the hog farm. Flooding is another common occurrence along Big Creek & the Buffalo River. Contamination will flow downriver & directly affect other communities & counties. Read Cargill hog farms history with polluting their surrounding areas. Scary stuff. Public hearings for comments/concerns were held in Fayetteville, Danville, Hope, Little Rock & Monticello. Close to Newton County? Nope. Accidental oversight? Nope, don't think so!! Listed in one of our two local newspapers? Nope, didn't happen. This will directly & negatively affect the river, environmental & air quality, groundwater, property values, residents' quality of life & cause health risks through contamination/pollution. We were denied our chance to give any input or express our concerns. Definitely a terrible & tragic decision. The effort spent to keep this hush-hush is appalling & reeks, big time. Those local residents, hostile towards the National Park Service, need to remember if not for the formation of the Buffalo National River Park they would have lost untold acreages of land--to the bottom of a lake. Oh, and KY3 did try to visit the hog farm construction site---they were denied by one of the local owners!! The Buffalo National River needs to be protected now & forever!!!
Chris - 03/24/2013 8:28:21 AM
Everyone should know by now big business is always polluting land and air not just in our country but other country's as well.just like Bo and the gulf oil spill,they don't mind using your resources but let something go wrong and you will be on your own.they do not own homes in your county,thief children don't go to your schools, I would say why did they pick this spot? Why newton co ?thats what I would be trying to find out
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