Saturday, June 04, 2016

hogs and hogs.

Only a very small part of a collection
This morning we have hunters in our woods who have volunteered to attempt to shoot and kill the hogs that have been devastating our gardens. The likelihood that the hogs will be accessible on our property when the hunters are at hand is somewhat remote, as hogs can range over hundreds of acres and move quickly when of a mind for it.

This morning, I also have a guest editorial in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, our state-wide newspaper to address a hog problem of another sort. My guest editorial is as follows:
Interesting parallels leading to an obvious conclusion.

About 3 years ago, AEP/SWEPCO power company attempted to get regulatory approval to build a massive extra high voltage power line through the National Military Park at Pea Ridge, along the White River in Carroll County and through the outskirts of Eureka Springs. The proposal brought a huge outpouring of opposition, and the unfortunate proposal was ultimately withdrawn by the power company after local activists in Eureka Springs, banning together as “Save the Ozarks” proved it wasn’t needed in the first place.

That powerline would have permanently bisected two portions of the national battlefield and would have damaged that tourist treasure. It also would have slashed an ugly scar across the beautiful landscape of Eureka Springs, one of our state’s most valued tourist resources.

There are interesting parallels between the struggles to stop the continued pollution of the Buffalo National River by the notorious C&H Hog Factory, and the efforts that successfully stopped the almost equally notorious SWEPCO powerline, one thoughtlessly proposed route of which would have passed in clear view of the Thorncrown Chapel, one of the world’s most valued architectural treasures.

First of all, both proposals, the hog factory and the powerline, were put forth in a thoughtless and irresponsible manner. Secondly, both the powerline and hog factory offered direct damages to properties owned by the National Park Service. The National Park Service in both cases expressed strong opposition in the form of letters written to state regulatory agencies and in both cases received no direct response. The letters from the National Park Service are too compelling to ignore and offer direct scientific evidence of damage to water quality in the park.

I have been (privately) assured that the NPS and ADEQ are meeting privately about coming to some form of resolution of the issue, and it is my sincere hope that “resolution” involves the immediate removal of the hog factory from the tributary waters of the Buffalo National River.

The Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act  (NEPA) are both threatened by failure of enforcement of prudent regulations in this case. According to the NEPA guide for citizen involvement, the only way governmental agencies are given the strength to protect public interest is when the public is involved. Save the Ozarks learned that lesson the hard way, by having to raise $150,000 dollars in legal fees and fighting the powerline relentlessly on every front. Nearly every citizen in Eureka Springs was involved in some way to make our community’s point known.

What is called for in this situation is that we all make our support for the preservation of the Buffalo River National Park clear. Some may care about free flowing streams in which visitors may safely bathe and partake of the splendors of the “Natural State.” Let your concerns lead you to action, please.

Others may be concerned about the loss of economic value. The hog factory may offer some small benefit the economy of Arkansas. But how can its small impact measure up to the $62,243,000.00 dollars spent here in the Natural State by the 1,463,304 annual visitors to the Buffalo River National Park? Pollution from the hog factory placed in the watershed of our nation’s first national river puts the entire tourist economy at risk, even here in the very Northwest corner of the state. Again, let your concerns lead you to act.

I am not asking for anything unreasonable in asking for the hog factory to be closed and removed. The hog factory is very likely in violation of the Clean Water Act. Research has proven it imperils one of the primary tributaries of the Buffalo River through run-off from manure application fields.  Strong evidence from dye tracing leads researchers to believe ongoing groundwater contamination from the storage lagoons and field application of manure leads to the Buffalo River.

Please call Governor Asa Hutchinson’s office and demand that the hog factory be relocated far, far from the natural state.

Doug Stowe is the Vice President of Save the Ozarks and in 2009 was named an Arkansas Living Treasure by The Arkansas Department of Heritage and the Arkansas Arts Council
Just as it is unlikely that our hunters will kill hogs on the first trip out, the removal of the hog factory is unlikely from my having made my concerns known. But writing to share my feeling s with others is better than just sitting on my hands.

I am also gathering my full collection of Froebel's gifts so they can be shipped to the publisher for photographing the chapter lead photos and cover shots. And preparing for my classes at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.

Make, fix, create, and inspire others to love learning likewise


  1. Well said. And may it start something that will cause people to get involved to keep that river clean.


  2. Thanks Mario. I guess its kind of a big deal around here to get an op-ed in the Dem-Gazette.

  3. Well, somebody has to start the ball rolling, and who better than you?