Cotton not standing up for state water protection
I cannot express my deep disappointment in Tom Cotton’s vote to roll back the Clean Water rule, and in his position on health care, leaving Arkansas’ rural families afraid for their futures.
His decisions will make Arkansas poorer, less safe for our children, our health and our water supplies, not to mention effects on tourism related rural and regional economies.
To reduce safeguards for water that the EPA spent years working to attain is purely wrong. I was willing to give the senator a chance to keep his word that he was working for us in rural Arkansas. My livelihood and my neighbors along the Buffalo River depend on its waters and on Bull Shoals lake (our drinking water source). To diminish regulations to suit “Big Ag” can’t benefit us. Without EPA protecting our waters, corporate lobbyists with no allegiance to Arkansas will continue influencing and even writing legislation that weakens our state.
When we can’t drink the water, when the Buffalo River is clotted with algae, and our tourism businesses are gone, who will benefit from weakened water rules? Only large agribusinesses that locate their own families and headquarters far from the rural wastelands they create.
When senators turn their backs on their constituents, family farmers are driven out. Boone County had only one dairy farm that FFA students could visit on a field trip this spring. The rest were replaced by CAFOs that don’t host field trips. Since when can’t a farm family host future farmers? The unfortunate answer is since the concentration of animals in confined operations replaced family farms. Most family farmers are over the age of 60. Their children can’t compete with these huge factories. They become contract labor for vertical integration enterprises, owning nothing but land and a mortgage. Or, they sell the family farm and leave home to find jobs.
I ask Sen. Cotton to step up to the plate and start representing the real people of his state. We need clean water for drinking and for the tourism that depends on recreation. We don’t need dirty waters and reduced health care. What happened to the water in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina as CAFOs replaced family farms is fair warning. Non-American takeovers of our rural land threaten Arkansas. How many small family farms remain in Mr. Cotton’s own neighborhood? His is a Heritage farm with special designation because so few are left. Would he like to convert to a swine CAFO?
We have to hope he has the integrity to work for us, to care for our children when they are sick, to ensure water fit for them to drink, and to protect the natural wonders of Arkansas that bring tourism that supports our rural livelihoods now that most our family farms are just memories. MARTI OLESEN Ponca