- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A judge is giving two federal agencies more time to assess the environmental impact of a northern Arkansas hog farm in the Buffalo National River watershed.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1Zhgr9M ) reports a judge granted a three-month extension Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The agencies had asked for the extension, citing “an unexpectedly large” amount of public comments on a draft environmental assessment of C&H; Hog Farms in Mount Judea.

The farm sits on Big Creek, about 7 miles from where it flows into the Buffalo National River. Nearby residents and environmental groups have criticized the farm over fears of pollution from hog waste.

A lawsuit filed against the agencies in 2013 argued that a 2012 environmental assessment was incomplete. The assessment allowed the two agencies to back loan guarantees that helped the farm open.



The agencies were ordered in 2014 to do a new assessment complying with the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. The order carried a one-year deadline, which was extended to March 1 on Wednesday.

The latest draft assessment released this summer came to the same conclusion as the tossed-out study, saying the farm isn’t likely to have a significant detrimental impact on the watershed.

A five-year ban on new medium and large hog farms in the watershed was approved in August by the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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