The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected a request from environmental regulators to halt proceedings in a lawsuit over a hog farm’s permit application to operate near the Buffalo River.
The court issued the ruling Tuesday, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The state Department of Environmental Quality had asked the court to intervene after Newton County Circuit Judge John Putman ordered a stay on the permit proceedings in October.
Putman said he, and not the department, had sole jurisdiction over C&H’s permit application. But the department issued a final decision in November, saying C&H Hog Farm could no longer operate. The farm opened in 2013 and houses about 6,500 hogs on Big Creek.
C&H alleged that the department was in contempt of Putnam’s order. Putman agreed but didn’t rule, instead asking regulators in December to show why they shouldn’t be found in contempt.
Department officials were originally scheduled to make their arguments this week against the contempt charge, but Putman moved to reschedule the hearing for a later date since the state Supreme Court was looking at the issue.
Department spokesmen and C&H attorneys didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The department first denied the farm’s permit in January 2018, but the farm appealed to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission, which sent the decision back to the department in August.
In its report, the department said it was denying the permit because of concerns that waste produced by the farm was contaminating the Big Creek and Buffalo River.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com