Web posted Thursday, April 4, 2002

Hog-study idea stinks

Dear Editor,

If the state wants to cut spending on "pork," here is one hunk of bacon that should never make it to the pan: a $400,000 request from Alaska Pork Inc. to fund a feasibility study for a mega-hog facility on the Kenai Peninsula. A substantial amount of this money would go to Richard Metteer, the project's proposer, and consultants from his cooperating foreign, multinational corporations, hardly an impartial, independent study.

His proposal would create 36 farm sites to raise 660,000 hogs on 26,000 acres of Ninilchik Native Corporation lands off Oilwell Road near the Caribou Hills in the Deep Creek and Ninilchik River watersheds, both important salmon streams. Each site would have a holding pond for wastes, and tons of slurry would be injected into the ground to fertilize hayfields and tree farms. The potential for excess slurry to leach into groundwater and contaminate salmon streams is great. Hog factories throughout the country have degraded air and water quality, and hog farm odors make life unbearable for nearby communities. Preventing catastrophic releases of urine and feces during major storm events is nearly impossible. Furthermore, the 26,000 acres would be fenced to keep wildlife away from the farms.

Inhumane, concentrated animal feedlots, which have proven to have disastrous effects on rural areas throughout the United States, do not belong in Alaska. Urge the Legislature not to fund the $400,000 request from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority.

Nina Faust