A lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday claims two federal agencies failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act when they guaranteed loans to a Hog Farm near the Buffalo River.
Four conservation groups filed suit against the Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The conservation groups claim the agencies did not conduct proper environmental assessments of the effects of wastewater and runoff from C & H Hog Farms, located near the town of Mount Judea.
Emily Jones of the National Parks Conservation Association, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, says that without proper testing, it is unclear what effects the waste water will have on the area.
“We really don't know where [the waste water] is going to end up, so some dye testing prior to allowing this thing to happen probably would have been a smart thing to do. You know, to wait until they got an effect determination or request an effect determination from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services would have been appropriate. To allow the National Parks Service to come in and weigh in and express what their concerns were, what their feelings about this were. That would have been appropriate,” says Jones.
KUAR reached out to the local chapters of both the FSA and the SBA, but neither provided comment. An attorney for the Little Rock chapter of the SBA, which is listed as a defendant, said she had not seen the complaint and that her office was not directly involved in issuing a loan to C & H.
C & H, under contract with Cargill Inc., was not named as a defendant in the suit, but has said the farm will have minimal environmental impact.