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The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has denied C&H Hog Farms’ application for a new permit to operate near Mount Judea.

Richard Mays, an attorney who has represented the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Wednesday night he had been informed of the decision by a department employee.

C&H, which abuts a Buffalo River tributary in Newton County, has been operating on an indefinite extension of its expired permit, which falls under a different regulation and stipulates different numbers of hogs than the new permit.

The company has become the target of groups such as the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance that fear its presence is an environmental risk to the Buffalo River. The river attracted 1.8 million tourists in 2016, and C&H’s proximity to the river has caused a stir among people concerned that manure from the farm — the largest hog operation ever to operate in the county — could make its way into the river and pollute the water.

C&H’s operators applied April 7, 2016, for an Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission Regulation 5 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for liquid animal waste systems. The current permit is a Regulation 6 permit, which is similar but has different notification and periodic renewal requirements. The department has decided to discontinue issuing the Regulation 6 permit.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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