House approves changes on camp setback rules

Wednesday, May 8th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(OKLAHOMA CITY) - Oklahoma's three-mile setback rule for large pig farms that want to locate near camps or recreational sites would be subject to new criteria under legislation approved by the state House Tuesday.

The measure is another attempt to define camps and recreational sites. Gov. Frank Keating last year vetoed legislation that opponents said would relax mandated distances between hog farms and recreational camps.

State law prohibits hog farms from operating within three miles of camps or recreational sites operated by nonprofit organizations.

The measure requires the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to decide whether a facility qualifies as a recreational site by determining whether it ``is predominantly used for camping or recreational purposes.''

It also requires the board to consider the type of permanent fixtures that are on the site, the frequency it is used for recreational purposes and the types of activities conducted on the site.

The measure vetoed by Keating would have required parks and camps to operate at least four months a year to qualify under the setback rules.

Opponents said the bill would help Oklahoma's largest hog producer, Seaboard Farms, operate a facility for 28,000 hogs in the Oklahoma Panhandle that is located near a small church camp that falls within the setback rule.

Seaboard has been in a protracted legal battle over the proposed hog farm since the Water Resources Board refused to issue a water permit for the facility.

The measure, House Bill 2330, passed 99-0 and was sent to the Senate for action.