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The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission has issued a stay on the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to deny C&H Hog Farms’ application to continue operating in the Buffalo National River’s watershed.

The 6,503-pig farm on Big Creek must appeal the department’s decision by Feb. 10 to maintain the stay. If the farmers do so, the stay would continue until the appeal process concludes.

Attorneys for the farmers argued Wednesday that the stay should be granted on the grounds that not granting it would close the farm and cause irreparable harm to the farmers’ livelihoods.

Opponents of the stay argued that the stay could not be legally granted when the permit is not under review.

C&H Hog Farms operates on the fifth-largest tributary to the Buffalo River, 5 miles from where it meets the Buffalo. Concerns for the river, which attracted 1.8 million visitors in 2016, have fueled opponents of the farm, which is the largest to have ever been built in the watershed.

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

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