by: Karen Hopper, KTLO
Some have described a bill making its way through the legislature as causing a stink, even going so far as to say it could make it easier for the operators of factory farms, like C&H Hog Farms in Newton County, to dispose of pig manure.
But the sponsor of the bill, Senator Gary Stubblefield of Branch, tells KTLO in Mountain Home, that is “absolutely not” the intention of SB 550.
Senator Stubblefield says he is running the bill for the Farm Bureau to make the permitting process easier for farmers. The bill would transfer permitting authority from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission.
The bill received bi-partisan support last week when it passed out of the Senate.
On Thursday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson released a statement saying he has reservations about changing the current permitting process and specifically cited the work that has been done to protect the Buffalo National River.
Also expressing concern about the transfer of permit granting authority was a group of former Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission members.
In response to the pushback, Senator Stubblefield says he amended his bill to answer some of those concerns.
House action on SB550 is expected to begin this week.