Farm Community Says Clean River First

12/17/13 8:40 p.m.
Fifth District Congressman Bob Latta heard from 125 to 150 Hancock County farmers in what was termed as the first meeting held exclusively for those in the agricultural community to air concerns and ask questions about flood control measures with a public official. The predominant theme throughout the meeting was that not enough is being done to clean the Blanchard River and its tributaries.

Audio:  Matt Hartman

Hancock County farmer Matt Hartman was one of the individuals who spoke at the meeting organized by former Hancock County Commissioner Steve Oman and held at his family farm Tuesday night. Hartman spoke of two problems that could be solved if the EPA would allow the river to be cleaned beyond just removing fallen trees and log jams..

Audio:  Matt Hartman

Representative Latta was challenged by one farmer in the audience to take a stand against the EPA and not support funding for any measure that does not include dredging the river. Latta responded by saying that he is bound by federal regulations and the rule of law but urged those in attendance to make themselves heard by the Corps at every public meeting.

Nearly all who spoke mentioned the fact that the Blanchard is only flowing at about 56 percent capacity and that the flood control measures being proposed by the Corps would not really solve anything and instead induce flooding in places where none exists now and also destroy valuable farm land that would be used instead for flood retention and diversion channels.

About the author  ⁄ Gus Sierra