U.S. Water News Online
BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark., says
that Arkansas' dispute over water-quality issues with Oklahoma is no
reason for Arkansas to slow action to clean up the Illinois River.
The Illinois drains out of Washington and Benton counties, a
rapidly-growing area that is home to much of the state poultry
industry. ``I doubt the standards they are proposing are possible,''
Boozman said of Oklahoma's new rules. The best way to show that the
standards are unworkable, if that is the case, is to do the best job
possible in keeping phosphorus out of the river, he said.
Oklahoma is making a push to protect its few scenic rivers.
``We're blessed to have a lot of scenic rivers in Arkansas, but
Oklahoma doesn't have that many,'' Boozman told farmers. ``That's why
they are so protective of this one.'' Boozman spoke at a breakfast
meeting of the Benton County Farm Bureau headquarters.
The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation, an association of the
county-level offices, is the biggest lobby representing rural
Arkansas. Oklahoma is proposing a level of phosphorus so low, few
rivers in Arkansas meet it, including those without large populations
or industries in their watersheds, officials said.
Steve Simpson, Benton County agent for the University of Arkansas
Cooperative Extension Service, said the simplest solution would be to
haul away chicken litter in trucks. Farmers at the gathering said it
is a misperception that there is too much litter for the watershed to
The litter can be used as fertilizer in places, which they say is
a safe disposal method. ``I have 100 acres that's never had any
litter on it,'' said Jim Singleton. Ed Milliken, a chicken house
owner near Bella Vista, said he would have the waste hauled away if
it could be done practically.
``I'd give it away if somebody would haul it,'' Milliken said.
``When I'm cleaning out a house and getting it ready (for another
flock of chickens), time is important. Taking it 20 minutes away,
disposing of it properly and driving back is time I don't have.''
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