Arkansas Announces Closure Of Hog Farm Near Buffalo River

(AP) — Arkansas officials say a hog farm near the Buffalo River has been closed months after striking a deal with the facility's owners.

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism announced Monday (Jan. 6) that the terms of the agreement with the owners of C&H Hog Farms Inc. have been completed.

The state has transferred $6.2 million to the shuttered hog farm's owners and has received a conservation easement for the property.

The state will be responsible for the closure of the waste ponds at the property. Gov. Asa Hutchinson in June announced the deal to close the hog farm.

In October of 2019, officials reviewed a proposal to remove waste from the country's first national river watershed after the hog farm accepted the buyout from the state to close its site following years of environmentalist complaints.

Critics have expressed concern over pollution, but the research has not explicitly found that C&H caused the algae in the river.

Gordon Watkins is the president of the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, an advocacy group formed to prevent pollution of the river. He said the grounds are already oversaturated with manure and phosphorous.

"We'd like to see some efforts to continue monitoring around the storage ponds as well as Big Creek itself, to see if phosphorus could continue to leach out into Big Creek or to spot evidence of ponds seeping," Watkins said.

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