Permit application for hog farm in Buffalo River’s watershed to be reconsidered
by Emily Walkenhorst
A contentious hog farm permit application will return to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to be reconsidered during a new public comment period, the agency’s appellate body decided in an unanimous vote Friday.
The order reopens consideration of a 6,503-hog farm in the Buffalo River’s watershed. The effect of C&H Hog Farms on the country’s first national river has been the subject of debate since the farm opened in 2013.
Under the order, the department must reissue its final decision to deny C&H Hog Farms’ permit as a draft decision instead. Then it must accept public comments for at least 30 days before reviewing the comments and issuing a final decision.
The agency denied C&H Hog Farms’ new operating permit in January, 21 months after the farmers applied. The department took nearly a year before its denial to read and respond, as required by law, to the more than 19,000 public comments submitted on the permit application.
After Friday’s decision, some in attendance speculated that a new permit decision could take another year and would likely be followed by another appeal process.