Scott Dye, Sierra Club - Water Sentinels
573.874.5024 or 573.881.1409
For immediate release: Craig Volland, Sierra Club - Kansas Chapter
June 1, 2005 913.334.0556
Columbia, MO The Sierra Club, the nations oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization, announced today that its summaries of the Missouri Dept of Natural Resources (MDNR) records of MOARKs environmental compliance history are now available for viewing by the tri-state public, via the Web at: http://missouri.sierraclub.org/moark.
MOARK has been actively trying to expand its existing egg production facilities in the tri-state region for the last several months, proposing to add new facilities confining some 3-million additional chickens. MOARK recently abandoned plans for proposed new facilities near Welch, Oklahoma, and Riverton, Kansas, after facing strong public opposition from those communities. MOARK is currently proposing to expand its existing Missouri operations near Neosho by adding 2.6-million laying hens, and draft MDNR permits for these proposed facilities will be considered at a MDNR Public Hearing in Neosho on June 8.
The Sierra Clubs audit of MDNR records for MOARKs three existing Missouri egg production facilities reviewed over 1600 pages of documents, and then summarized 151 excerpts from among 777 pages of state records.
The audit revealed a sobering picture of a company run amok, and a state regulatory agency that has done little to stop it, said Scott Dye, director of Sierra Clubs Water Sentinels program.
For well over a decade, state officials have documented numerous operational problems at MOARKs Missouri facilities, including overflowing or leaking waste pits, manure spills, broken waste pipelines, improper application of wastes, over-application of wastes, spreading wastes too close to losing streams and drinking water wells, improper disposal of dead animals, spilling wastes onto area highways, operating without certified wastewater operators, and operating without proper permits and engineering certifications.
The Sierra Club also provided copies of the MDNRs official records to Southwest Missouri Citizens Against Local MOARK Expansion, the Neosho-area citizens group opposed to MOARKs planned expansion. SWMCALME( www.ozarkclearwater.com ) has gathered many hundreds of signatures on petitions opposing MOARKs plans, just as the concerned residents in Oklahoma and Kansas had done when faced with proposed MOARK facilities in their communities. And just like in Kansas and Oklahoma, MOARK officials have once again refused to meet with residents of Newton County, Missouri, to discuss their plans.
Its unfortunate that MOARK has chosen to be secretive and unresponsive to the legitimate public concerns raised in the communities where It has attempted to expand its operations, said Dye. But, MOARKs abysmal environmental record speaks for itself.
We believe the public has a right to know what MOARKs compliance record is, and what MDNRs enforcement record is, Dye said. We encourage folks to go online and review the states records and decide for themselves whether this company is the good neighbor and environmental steward it claims to be, and whether MDNR is committed and competent in enforcing the states clean water laws.
The Sierra Club today also alerted public officials, citizens groups, and media in Kansas and Oklahoma that tri-state counties that border Missouri may still wind up having MOARKs wastes dumped in their communities, even if they had previously rejected MOARKs proposed facilities.
Three special conditions in the MDNRs draft permits for MOARK encourage the company to spread its wastes in Kansas and Oklahomawhile absolving MDNR of any jurisdiction over how those wastes are spread in neighboring states. Because many of the rivers and streams surrounding MOARKs current Missouri operations are already federally-listed as impaired by livestock wastes, MDNR and MOARK are seeking to move the nutrient-laden wastes out of these contaminated areas. The draft MDNR permits also authorize MOARK to spread wastes north of the Spring River in Barton and Jasper counties in Missouri, where streams arent yet contaminated.
This is bizarre, said Craig Volland, Confined Animal Feeding Operations Committee Chair for the Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club. The local watershed gets contaminated under the MDNRs nose; then they say its okay to add millions more chickens to the 1.3 million already there, as long as you ship the waste to another watershed or another state. We will be asking the Kansas Dept of Health and Environment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate.
MDNRs draft permits for MOARK can be viewed online at:
Re: MOARK Public Hearing Comments
PO Box 176
Jefferson City, MO 65102
MDNRs MOARK Pollution Records Online.....