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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Millner and Excel Dairy Defy EPA, Violate Clean Air Act

I've previously reported that Millner's Thief River Falls operation has continued to violate state air quality standards and the conditions the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency laid out when it put Excel Dairy on a short leash this year for frequent air quality violations in 2008.

Now this document turns up: a letter from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, dated June 26, 2009, finding Millner and Excel Dairy in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. The EPA violation has been reported previously. But it is important to understand that the violation is not just mismanagement of tons of manure and emission of excessive hydrogen sulfide. In the letter and notice of violation to attorney Matthew A. Slaven, Region 5 EPA Air and Radiation Division Director Cheryl L. Newton offers evidence that fits Millner's pattern of apparent disregard for the law:
  • In 2008, the EPA found Excel Dairy and specifically Prairie Ridge Management and Richard Millner in violation of the Minnesota State Implementation Plan at the dairy.
  • Air quality monitoring demonstrates that Excel Dairy, Prairie Ridge, and Millner continued to violate Minnesota SIP Rule 7009.0080 "on numerous days beginning in April 2009."
  • In December, EPA ordered Millner and Excel Dairy to reply to a 53-item information request, including a requirement to "begin conducting hydrogen sulfide ambient air monitoring at the Thief River facility." The EPA gave Millner and Excel Dairy 30 days to comply.
  • After six months and two more EPA letters, Millner and Excel Dairy had failed to fully comply with the December order.
As of the June 26 letter, Millner thus stood in violation of Section 114(a) of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7414(a).

Maybe my libertarian friends will praise Millner for poking a stick in the EPA's eye with his apparent delays and non-compliance. But like Roman Polanski, Millner and Excel Dairy double their crime by defying the efforts of legal authorities to hold them accountable for polluting Thief River Falls and infringing on the liberty of their neighbors.

Meanwhile, up in Veblen, Millner has been having manure drainage problems. In August, he received permission from the Marshall County Commission to bore under County Road 1 to increase drainage from his property. Why doesn't that sound good to me?

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