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Protecting the Environment

For immediate release - Tuesday, July 30, 2002.
Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

Cedar Valley Farms Pleads Guilty to Criminal Environmental Violations and is Ordered to Pay $131,000 in Penalties and Restitution

VINTON. Cedar Valley Farms LLC of Benton County pled guilty Tuesday to five criminal counts of negligently discharging manure into waters of the state. Benton County District Court Judge Patrick R. Grady ordered the company to pay $131,561.56 in criminal penalties, restitution, surcharges, and court costs.

Cedar Valley Farms, formerly known as Sunrise Dairy Farms LLC, is a confinement dairy cattle feeding and milking operation located south of Blairstown.

Cedar Valley Farms pled guilty to five counts of negligently discharging a pollutant into waters of the state in incidents occurring July 12, August 25, November 11, and November 14, 2001, and June 4, 2002. The charges are serious misdemeanors punishable by a fine up to $25,000. The Court ordered a fine of $15,000 on each count, or $75,000, and also suspended a fine of $10,000 on each count pending a two-year period of probation including requirements that the company have no further violations and make all payments.

In addition to the $75,000 in fines, Cedar Valley Farms was ordered to pay $26,000 in restitution to the Benton County Conservation Board, $8,000 to the state environmental investigative fund, a court surcharge of $22,500, and court costs of $61.56.

In a separate civil case also resolved Tuesday, Cedar Valley Farms also was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $10,000, ordered to submit a construction permit application for its confinement dairy operation with the Department of Natural Resources, and enjoined from further violations.

Both the criminal trial information and civil lawsuit were filed February 7 in Benton County District Court in Vinton. The criminal trial information was filed jointly by Benton County Attorney David C. Thompson and the Area Prosecutions Division of Attorney General Tom Miller's Office.

The civil case alleged that illegal discharges were the result of various circumstances including a broken manure pipe, a plugged manure pipe, and runoff of manure that had been land-applied to fields. The civil lawsuit was filed by the Attorney General's Environmental Law Division in cooperation with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, which investigated the matter.

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