State missed another Jan. 1 deadline

(January 22, 2004) — (Little Rock-AP) -- A law designed to limit river pollution from chicken litter hasn't gone into effect as planned. The reason is the state doesn't have a set of rules to govern safe dispersal of the waste. The law was proposed by the Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission to combat high levels of phosphorus in the Illinois River in northwest Arkansas. The measure enlists farmers to employ "best practices" in laying down the nutrient-rich fertilizer. The commission is charged with defining what those practices should be. The commission decided it needed more time to write the rules after poultry farmers complained they were being unfairly targeted. The growers blame rapid growth in northwest Arkansas for contributing to pollution. The commission voted yesterday to allow the staff to set out formal rules. Arkansas and Oklahoma have come to an agreement to settle complaints by Oklahoma that chickens are polluting rivers that flow from Arkansas into Oklahoma.