Hog farm agrees to move out of Buffalo River’s watershed

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and C&H Hog Farms have reached an agreement for the facility to move out of the Buffalo River’s watershed, Hutchinson told the Arkansas Municipal League during a speech on Thursday.The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is reporting the state, with help from The Nature Conservancy, will pay the farmers $6.2 million in exchange for the closure.

Hutchinson also said a temporary ban on new medium- and large-scale hog farms in the watershed should be made permanent.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality ordered the facility, which is home to up to 6,503 hogs, to close in November, citing water quality concerns and insufficient geological investigations of the rough karst terrain in which the farms sits.

C&H subsequently filed a number of appeals of the department’s actions and of subsequent actions taken by the department’s appellate body, the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology.

C&H Hog Farms has been operating since 2013 and has faced heated pushback ever since from environmental groups concerned about hog manure ending up in the Buffalo River. The facility is located on Big Creek, 6.6 miles from where it flows into the Buffalo.

The creek and river are both on the department’s proposed list of impaired water bodies for E. Coli, but no government agency has concluded C&H is responsible for the bacteria’s presence.

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