State Rep. Kevin Wilson has been under the gun recently from opponents of Moark's proposed expansion of its Neosho facility. The Neosho Republican, before entering the world of politics, was Moark's personnel manager.
Today, he issued the following statement:
"I attended the DNR public hearing on MOARK’s permit request last night and had intended to make a public statement at the beginning of the meeting regarding my position on the proposed expansion. I decided that to do my job properly required listening to what the public had to say prior to making a formal statement.
"Over the last several months I have listened to both sides of this issue including the comments made during the hearing. Based upon what I have heard I am opposed, at this time, to a large-scale expansion beyond the current bird capacity that MOARK has in the Southwest Missouri area.
"As I have heard from the public, three primary concerns have been voiced – odor, water contamination and water table depletion. I believe that MOARK’s plan for modernization of their current operations is a positive step in the right direction. I also believe that a fazed-in replacement of their older facilities with new technology will help address many of the environmental issues highlighted by concerned citizens. However, I think further discussions need to take place before permanently expanding the operations beyond current capacity.
From all the discussions I have had and the comments I have heard, I believe that MOARK is trying to do the right thing by modernizing their facilities and providing food and jobs for our growing economy. I also believe that there are valid citizen concerns regarding the issues I have outlined. Only by working together can we fairly address the concerns and needs of both sides of this issue. Therefore, I urge MOARK and all affected parties to sit down immediately to address all the concerns that have been raised to see if a compromise acceptable to all parties can be reached. I also ask DNR to be an active participant in these discussions and to become a partner in addressing environmental issues in this state and specifically Southwest Missouri.
As our area continues to grow, the issues and concerns raised with regard to this expansion go beyond any one company and must be addressed as we try to balance our agricultural needs with those of our scarce natural resources. We must find a way to address these issues now rather than later. To this end, I will have further discussions regarding these concerns with the Director of Missouri DNR and the Governor.”