People of Buffalo Say a Hog Farm Could Pollute Their Drinking Water
The majority of a small town is upset after the state Supreme Court allowed hog farm permits
BUFFALO, ND — The North Dakota Supreme Court approved permits for a hog facility near Buffalo, North Dakota.
Several people living there have spent more than a year trying to keep it from being built, saying it can heavily pollute the area.
In the 2016 election, nearly 76 percent voted “no” to corporate dairy and swine farming.
This leaves neighbors wondering why it’s okay for Minnesota based Pipestone Systems to build a facility for 9,000 hogs near their home.
They say piglets will cause the facility to exceed their 9,000 capacity.
“Not only are we downwind, we are also downstream,” said Lee Fraase of Buffalo. “The size of that manure pit is like the size of the FargoDome”
They said it started more than two years ago when a man named Jared Melvin sold land to the company, planning the facility without the people of Buffalo knowing.
“He was born and raised here,” said Liane Stout of Buffalo. “It’s very hard for us to believe that this community doesn’t mean as much to him as it does to us. It’s very heartbreaking.”
The town organized a committee of Ag experts and passionate locals against the facility.
After more than a year of research, they found runoff from pig manure can affect water in town.
It could even get into the Sheyenne and Red River if conditions are bad enough.
This could affect water in Fargo-Moorhead and places as far as Canada.
“What bothers me the most is they didn’t do their homework,” Fraase said. “If this was supposed to be a great thing, why didn’t they come out publically and talk about it? They had to sneak their way in and hope it gets passed. That was a joke”
“The air quality, the pollutants, there are all kinds of major issues with it,” said Buffalo Mayor Antoinette Babcock. “The smell is the least of our worries.”
“They do not have enough land to get rid of the manure they’re going to produce,” said Randy Coon of Buffalo. “It’s going to be about two million gallons in excess. We were told at the meeting that if they didn’t have enough acres, they would not get a permit. So once again, the health department is telling us things that aren’t exactly true.”
In a small town once close knit, they say the facility left them divided.
“Oh, it’s split everybody,” said Jerry Marcks of Buffalo. “We’ve got some people that are pro for it. The majority I’d say are against it.”
A Facebook page against the hog farm has about 180 followers.
The town of Buffalo has a population just short of 200 people.
Committee leaders said they’ve been trying to contact state senators, the governor and county politicians, but are getting little to now response.
“I thought they were working for the people of North Dakota,” Marcks said.
“I’m not against the pigs,” Fraase said. “The location just doesn’t work.”
They tell me the fight is not over.
They plan on taking this to district federal court.
We reached out to Pipestone for comment but have not heard back.