In 2013, BRWA collaborated with the Ozark Society, the Arkansas Canoe Club and National Parks Conservation Association to engage Earthjustice, a public interest law firm, to seek a legal solution to the C&H issue. Efforts focused on a faulty environmental assessment of C&H by the Farm Services Administration in its issuance of $3.5 million in federal loan guarantees.
Case Overview from the Earthjustice website
Demand Letter to FSA SBA of 6/6/13 This letter to USDA and Small Business Administration request review of faulty assessment that led to loan guarantee for industrial swine facility in the Buffalo National River Watershed. Animal waste from the C&H factory farm threatens America’s first national river, public health, and a multi-billion dollar Arkansas tourism economy Complaint filed August 6, 2013 This is the complaint filed by Eartjustice, Earthrise, and Carney, Bates and Pulliam on behalf of plaintiffs BRWA, Arkansas Canoe Club, Ozark Society, and National Parks Conservation Asso. against the United States Dept. of Agriculture, Farm Services Agency, the Small Business Administration, and others challenging the environmental review and authorization of loan guarantees to C & H Hog Farm. See Amended Complaint filed 12/23/13 below.
Defendant's Proposed Response To Plaintiff's Memorandum Of Law Regarding The Scope Of Injunctive Relief filed 11/7/2014
Plaintiff's Motion For Leave To Respond To Defendant's Supplemental Briefing On The Scope Of Injunctive Relief filed 11/12/2014
Plaintiff's Proposed Response To Defendant's Supplemental Briefing On The Scope Of Injunctive Relief, filed 11/12/2014
COURT ORDER, filed 12/2/2014. U.S. District Court Judge D.P. Marshall's written opinion and order for injunctive relief. The Court finds that FSA and SBA violated provisions of the National Environmental Policies Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and that they "arbitrarily and capriciously guaranteed the loans" to C&H Hog Farms.The court requires the agencies to re-do their "cursory and flawed" Environmental Assessment of C&H within one year. Read this document for a clear overview and explanation of the issue.
Order filed 12/2/2014
Judgement filed 12/2/2104
Notice of Appeal filed 1/30/2015 by Defendants
Withdrawal of Appeal filed April 22, 2015 by Defendants
Press Release on Withdrawal of Appeal
Defendants request a 90-day extension, until March 1, 2016, to comply with court order for a new EA. The extension is requested due to the "unexpectedly large volume of public comments on the draft EA". 1,858 public comments were submitted. Filed Sept. 25, 2015.
Declaration of Matthew Ponish, FSA, in support of 90-day extension.
Draft Biological Assessment prepared to comply with the Endangered Species Act. October, 2015
Defendants Motion To Dissolve Injunction, March 2, 2016
FARM SERVICE AGENCY DOCUMENTS
Letter from Buffalo National River to the Farm Services Administration responding to the EA/FONSI and outlining 45 significant errors, misstatements, inaccuracies and other problems. If you only read one document this is the one The Park Service was not notified on the CAFO and was excluded from the assessment of impacts, violating federal guidelines.
This is the official response to the letter from the Buffalo National River above that cites 45 problems with the EA an FONSI documents. Posted 4/1/13.
NEW ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT, AUGUST 2015
Draft Environmental Assessment, August, 2015 submitted per Judge D. Price Marshall's court order finding that the original EA was "cursory and flawed".
PUBLIC COMMENTS AND EXPERT OPINIONS ON DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
PRESS RELEASE, Sept 4, 2015: Arkansas Groups Find Draft Environmental Assessment of Industrial Hog Facility in Buffalo River Watershed Significantly Flawed