2:50pm

Tue December 6, 2011
Environmentalist Suggests Caution

Haslam Wants Quicker Chicken Farm Permitting

 

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam says he’s working to speed up the environmental permitting system for poultry farms.

The governor noted in a speech to the Farm Bureau in Franklin yesterday that his goal is for the state to strike a balance between environmental stewardship and promoting jobs and production in the agricultural sector.

Poultry is Tennessee's third largest agricultural product, after cattle and soybeans.

John McFadden with the Tennessee Environmental Council says the danger with these operations is introducing fecal matter and chemicals into local water supplies. But also says chicken farms can be environmentally sound if built and operated properly.

"The waste can actually be composted and utilized to grow crops with, but I would be concerned about speeding up the process and not taking the necessary time to figure out how to make it work right."

For his part, Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson says neighboring states are quicker to grant permits for chicken farms and added that he considers it a problem that Tennessee's rules are slightly stricter than federal standards.