Lawmakers look at swine and water

OKLAHOMA CITY — Representative Dale DeWitt wants to see rural Oklahoma survive and grow. But he believes a law that dictates where swine farms can be located in the state is threatening that growth.
calendar icon 3 October 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

“We have lost out on extensive expansion in the swine industry,” said the Braman Republican.

This week, Oklahoma legislators had in an interim study session with pork and environmental experts, to discuss how easing requirements for the distance a swine farm can be from water sources may benefit the pork industry without affecting the environment.

DeWitt authored a bill last session that would have made the requirements for how far swine farms can be from water sources more in line with other livestock. However, he decided to pull the legislation before it went to the House floor for a vote.

Current law states swine feeding operations cannot be located within three miles of a designated scenic river, a historic property or state museum, a public drinking water well or a national park. None of these requirements are mandated of cattle and poultry feeding operations, according to information from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

Roy Lee Lindsey Jr. wants that changed.
“We think there’s inconsistencies in the statutes. We just want to be the same as everyone else,” said Lindsey, executive director of the Oklahoma Pork Council.

DeWitt said that even though swine farms are different than cattle and poultry operations in the way animals are handled and housed, he has not seen evidence of pollution coming from the swine industry.

Steve Thompson, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, said he does not support reducing the distances the swine farms can be from water sources.


Further Reading

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