Coming this week: A Pollution Control and Ecology Commission hearing Wednesday morning on the appeal of state approval of a modified permit for a farm to spread waste from the C and H hog factory feeding operation at Mount Judea on land in the Buffalo River watershed.
Several petitioners, including the National Park Service, have expressed concern that the permit for EC Farms creates a potential for damage to the Buffalo River, Little Buffalo River and Big Creek.
Arguments against the permit have been dismissed by the state as irrelevant because this is modification of an existing permit, not a new permit. Wrote the Park Service:
We continue to be concemed that the permit itself should be reviewed, given that the area is underlain with karst terrain and the potential for significant affects to the watershed remain. Due consideration of real and potential impacts must be made in light of ongoing discoveries and interpretations of hydrogeological data suggesting waste conductivity in the underlying karst system beneath many of the proposed spreading fields. Finally, we believe that this action constitutes a modification in the operation of C&H Hog Farm with the potential to introduce more waste into an already stressed ecosystem.
The record submitted for the hearing can be found here.
Carol Bitting, one of those appealing the modified permit, contends the waste will be spread over “cave-riddled” areas south of Jasper along Highway 7. She worries about trucks that will be hauling hog waste and also says the permit change will reduce the frequency of monitoring. Reduced monitoring could lead to more runoff into water of nutrients that can promote algae growth in streams in the watershed, she argues.