Press Release Mar 17, 2017

Thousands of Concerned Citizens Urge Gov. Hutchinson to Protect Buffalo National River from Hog Waste Contamination

More than 14,000 submitted comments calling on the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and Governor Asa Hutchinson to reject permit for C&H industrial hog farm to continue operating in national river’s watershed

LITTLE ROCK, AR – Thousands of Arkansans and national park advocates from across the country submitted comments this month urging the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to deny a new permit for C&H Hog Farms to continue their massive industrial operation within the Buffalo National River Watershed.

C&H currently operates a concentrated animal feeding operation, known as C&H Hog Farm, in the watershed of the Buffalo National River, the country’s first national river and one of our more than 400 national park sites. The operation’s 6,500 confined hogs generate more than 2.5 million gallons of waste annually, which threatens to seep through the region’s porous ground and into the river.

In 2012, the state granted C&H a permit for this facility without allowing adequate public input or consultation from the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or local communities. The state permit expired on October 31, 2016. Now, Governor Hutchinson and the ADEQ have an opportunity to protect America’s first national river by denying the company’s application for a permit 5264-W, which seeks to allow C&H to continue spreading hog waste in this fragile ecosystem. As the 30-day comment period on the permit comes to a close, over 14,000 have made their voices heard in opposition to this threat to the Buffalo.

“This is our last chance to protect the Buffalo National River, our country’s first national river and a beloved national park, which belongs to all Americans. Allowing C&H to continue spreading millions of gallons of waste in the Buffalo’s watershed could do irreparable damage to the regional tourism economy and threatens local drinking water,” said Emily Jones, senior program manager for National Parks Conservation Association. “Along with thousands of our members and supporters in Arkansas and across the country, NPCA urges Governor Hutchinson to protect this precious resource and keep the Buffalo safe for people to swim, fish, and float.”

The Buffalo National River offers extraordinary recreational opportunities along 135 miles of free flowing river, and is a major economic driver for the region. The river welcomed over 1.7 million visitors in 2016, pumping millions of dollars into nearby communities and supporting local jobs.

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About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.2 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.