C&H Hog Farms, the concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) near the Buffalo River that fattens pigs for slaughter for a Brazilian meat processing conglomerate, isn’t going away without a fight.
The D-G reports that C&H, currently operating under an expired permit, is applying for a different type of permit to operate its 6,500-swine facility after its application for a new permit was denied earlier this year.
The Mt. Judea facility has been controversial since it was granted a CAFO permit in 2012. Critics allege that the original permitting process was flawed and violated the law, and that the more than 2 million gallons of manure and wastewater generated annually by the facility are an existential threat to the vulnerable terrain and ecosystem of the Buffalo River watershed.
C&H was the only facility in the state ever to apply for a CAFO general permit, which was established in 2011. As a “general permit,” it had less stringent requirements than “individual permits” that must be more specific regarding the details of the particular applicant. In April of 2016, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality eliminated the CAFO general permit altogether. That same month, C&H applied for a different type of liquid animal waste permit, which was denied by the ADEQ more than eighteen months later in January 2018. In the mean time, C&H continued to operate under its old CAFO permit, which had technically expired in October 2016. It continues to operate under that old permit while it appeals the ADEQ’s denial of the new permit.
Now C&H is applying for an altogether different type of liquid animal waste permit — a five-year individual permit to operate its CAFO. The game here is to bog down the regulatory system in enough paperwork and processes to continue to operate despite no longer having an approved permit to do so.