You Lie, Governor!

ARKANSAS

BY
Richard Mason

You Lie, Governor!
That’s right Governor, when you say that you are committed to protect the Buffalo, the Nation’s first National River and an Arkansas treasure, you are lying! You say, you are depending on scientific studies to protect the river, when the scientific community has already spoken, and the vast majority are confident that the River will be polluted if the hog farm continues to operate. How much more scientific evidence do you need? So quit posturing! Show me one lying geologist who thinks the hog farm is no threat to the Buffalo, and I’ll show you a hundred who say it’s an almost certainty the hog farm will sooner or later pollute our National River. Governor, you are being “Politically Correct.” I know you are thinking what does politics have to do with the Buffalo? Okay, let’s look at the facts, and see if our National River is in danger of being harmed by our being “politically correct.”
But, first, are we just crying wolf about the Buffalo being endangered? Crying wolf means there is no wolf, and on the Buffalo that means the river is pristine and not being impacted or endangered by present or endangered by future actions. The answer is obvious. We are not crying wolf. The river may be already impacted by the Factory Hog farm as they dump hog manure in 11 fields in the Buffalo River’s watershed. This year the river has miles of out-of-control algae so thick that it covers a large part of the river. That is a nitrogen algae bloom that can be directly tied runoff coming from the river’s watershed. There are many possible sources, but I’m convinced the Factory Hog farm, which is producing an amount of waste each year equal to a town of 20,000, probably the main culprit. With that amount of untreated waste being dumped on land in the watershed to let Mother Nature dispose of it, where is it going to go? Rains will certainly wash a lot of it into streams nearby, and what body of water do these streams flow into? You guessed it: the Buffalo National River! But that’s not the biggest threat to the Buffalo. The Commission of the A. D. E. Q. allowed the factory hog farm to be sited on the worst possible geologic formation in the state, the Boone Limestone. The water that doesn’t run off percolates into the Swiss Cheese Limestone, and that water ultimately ends up in the Buffalo. As a geologist with an advanced degree, who has worked on the ground in the watershed area, and has written a Master’s thesis on the geology of the area, I believe it is a virtual certainty that with this huge amount of hog mature that over the years will be dumped on the Buffalo watershed, the river will be lost forever if the permit isn’t revoked. That Governor, is scientific evidence that any competent geologist will confirm. Check with Dr. Walter Manger, Chairman Emeritus of the Geoscience Department of the University if you don’t believe me.
For just a moment, try to think about the amount of hog manure that will be dumped on the 11 fields—-over the next 10 years—it’s equal to the waste of a city of 200,000 people! Governor, if you are honest in your analysis, you will know the Buffalo we now know today will be gone forever in less than 10 years. How are you going to feel when the National Park Service prohibits swimming in the River and then fishing, and finally closes the River for all recreational use?
Yes, Governor, you have appointed a new commission, and supposedly this commission is supposed to protect the Buffalo River. However, there is nothing in the commission’s charge of action that will give it the power to suspend the current factory farm permit that allows the operator to have as many as 6500 pigs on site. The commission is not a regulatory body, and it cannot regulate what goes in the river.
If the current factory farm isn’t shut down, it is an almost certainty that the River will be polluted to the extent that it will become toxic. But what really bothers me is that being politically correct is going to be the reason the River will one day be closed to swimming and fishing. Governor, you are a Republican, but the River’s health should be non-partisan, and I would think an order to suspend the permit because of the great threat of pollution would be praised by Republicans and Democrats alike.
Governor, this is not the time to be politically correct, and when the pollutions seep into the Swiss Cheese Boone Limestone, and begin to enter the river it will be too late. The seepage will probably continue for years to come even if the hog farm is shut down, and you, by being politically correct, will be blamed. Yes, Governor, if the Buffalo is polluted, it will be your fault, because you could have protected the River.
If we’re to save the river the factory hog farm must be closed and sited on a more suitable terrain. Only then will the river be saved.

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