Buffalo River 
Watershed
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National Parks Conservation Asso. Press Release

08 Apr 2013 7:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2013

National Parks Conservation Association Calls Permitting Process Flawed for Hog Farm onBuffalo National River Tributary
National Parks Group Urges U.S. Department of Agriculture and Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to Pull Permit

Mt. Judea, Ark. - On March 29th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency (FSA) responded to a written request from the National Park Service (NPS) seeking clarity around a permit that was issued earlier this year for a hog farm along Big Creek – a tributary that empties intoBuffalo National River just 5 miles downstream. An analysis of the process by which C & H Hog Farms, Inc. obtained a loan guarantee suggests that the permit was issued without proper consultation of the Park Service – a requirement of the Farm Services Agency for projects located below or above a national river.

“Based upon the Farm Services Agency’s own guidelines, the entire permitting process for the hog farm was flawed and the decision should be thrown out,” said National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) Senior Program Manager Emily Jones. “This hog farm could do real damage to the resources at Buffalo National River. If a proper review was completed, the environmental assessment would have shown the impacts.”

The hog farm would hold as many as 6,500 animals and generate roughly 2 million gallons of waste annually, which could impact the Buffalo River downstream. The operation could harm several endangered or threatened species in the region, including the gray bat and the endangered snuffbox mussel. Under Endangered Species Act regulations, federal agencies must ensure their actions don’t jeopardize the continued existence of listed species. In addition to failing to consult with the Park Service on impacts to the river, the Farm Services Agency did not submit a determination of effects on endangered species to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as required by law.

The Buffalo National River is America’s first national river. In 2011, over 1 million visitors to the river spent over $38 million in surrounding communities, creating jobs, attending festivals, and supporting local businesses. Canoe and kayak enthusiasts, equestrians, hikers, fisherman, and birders enjoy the 132 mile free flowing river. Elk, deer and turkey, along with more than 300 species of fish, freshwater mussels, insects, and aquatic plants depend on the Buffalo, America’s first National River. A hog farm could jeopardize this economic benefit for the State of Arkansasand impact local communities.

“On behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association’s over 800,000 members and supporters, we call on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to work cooperatively to pull this permit,” said Jones. “Buffalo NationalRiver is a national treasure, and the necessary precautions must be followed to ensure it is protected for future generations.”

Contact: Perry Wheeler, NPCA Senior Media Relations Coordinator, P: 301-675-8766

Comments

  • 10 Apr 2013 3:46 PM | Deleted user
    I live just down the road from the C&H CAFO on Cave Creek, and have worked against it since hearing of it. Thank you for your stand on this issue.
    As you may know-In 1986-87 a similar situation occurred when APCE granted a permit to local farmer/businessman to operate agricultural waste disposal near the Buffalo. The good people of the Pindall, AR area banded together,raised the money to hire hydrologists and attorneys to oppose this. Dye testing showed that the Karst terrain in this area would allow direct pollution in the Buffalo River.
    The NPS and other organizations(perhaps yours) joined the cause and against the odds, had the permit revoked.I hope that this precedent setting event might help in this situation, though the times have changed, the overriding issue has not.
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