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Arkansas governor: Halt efforts to change farm permitting

March 25, 2019

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ governor says lawmakers should halt efforts to change how hog farms and other farms are permitted.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters Monday he’s concerned about a Senate-backed bill that would transfer the authority to permit “concentrated animal feeding operations” from the Department of Environmental Quality to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. The Republican governor says now isn’t the right time to make dramatic changes in the rulemaking process for the farms, especially with the Legislature considering a proposal to reorganize state agencies.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has told the state it’s reviewing the bill to evaluate its impact on the federal Clean Water Act and the state’s enforcement of it. The measure faces opposition from environmental groups who say the change would threaten water quality.

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