The U.S. Department of the Interior is not happy about the hog farm permit issued upstream of the Buffalo National River and has written the U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency's state office, criticizing its Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact as "weak."
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality issued a permit to C&H Hog Farm last August to operate a 670-acre farm with two barns able to hold 6,503 head of swine about five miles from a tributary of Big Creek near Mount Judea. The hog waste is to be spread on the farm.
The Ozark Society A grassroots group has begun a petition drive to halt the farm; the Baxter Bulletin reported yesterday that it had 3,630 signatures so far.
Interior charges that the agency "did not follow its own regulations in developing the EA, particularly related to the communication standard," and details 45 problems with the EA. Among them:
The Farm Service Agency cover sheet "indicates the National Park Service (NPS) is a cooperating agency. Since we never received word of the document, this is clearly in error." The Farm Service EA says the farm will be 478.93 acres, but the farm's management plan says waste will be applied to 630 acres. The FSA numbers the hogs on the farm at only 2,500. Interior notes that says the waste field is within the foraging range of the gray bat, which is endangered. And so forth. Read the letter, signed by Buffalo National River Superintendent Kevin G. Cheri, here.