Two federal agencies have agreed with attorneys for environmental groups on a proposed settlement for attorney fees in a lawsuit over a hog farm near the Buffalo National River.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Saturday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration have agreed to pay $250,000 to attorneys with Earthjustice, Earthrise Law Center and Little Rock-based Carney Bates Pulliam.
The proposal now goes to a federal judge for approval.
Those attorneys filed a lawsuit in 2013 on behalf of the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, Ozark Society, national parks Conservation Association and Arkansas Canoe Club, alleging the two federal agencies improperly conducted an environmental assessment on C&H Hog Farms at Mount Judea.
The original 2012 study had allowed for the Farm Service Agency and the SBA to back loans needed for the C&H facility to open — called loan guarantees.
A federal judge agreed with the environmental groups and ordered a new study, which was released Thursday and comes to the same conclusion as the tossed-out 2012 assessment, determining no likely significant effect from the farm on the Buffalo River watershed area.
The attorneys for the environmental groups originally applied for $370,510 in fees in May.
The proposed settlement now goes to U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. for approval.