Thursday, March 31, 2016

EPA charges against Rep. Holt dropped, complaint withdrawn. Media conviction was premature.

Rep. Andy Holt
The media had a field day painting Republican Representative Andy Hold of  Dresden Tennessee as a major evil polluter and left the impression that he had been found guilty of committing  some terrible offense and the only thing to be determined was his punishment. He was alleged to have dumped thousands of gallons of hog waste into a stream. 

I like clean water and don't know what the standard should be and would prefer that no waste of any kind ever flows into a waterway, but I also like bacon and ham do not want to make it impossible for people to raise hogs. What I don't like is for the media to convict someone of a something and then discover that the media conviction was premature.  Here is how the Nashville Scene reported the story: The Farmer from Hog Dump: EPA Fines Rep. Holt $177K for Unauthorized Dumping.  Other media was almost as bad. Well, what do you know; the charges have been dropped and the complaint has been withdrawn (link). Below is a press release from Rep. Holt's office.

NASHVILLE, March 30, 2016—The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ended their investigation into State Rep. Andy Holt’s family farm and subsequently dropped their complaint.

“This has been an interesting process,” said Holt. “I’m thankful for those that have stood by my family and me over the past several months.”

Last Summer, the EPA filed a complaint against Holt’s family farm for discharging lagoon waste after historic rainfall compromised the levies in previous years.  A timely answer was filed by Holt, and there were motions to amend both the complaint & the answer. The matter was subsequently referred to an administrative judge for an alternative dispute resolution process.

“We self-reported all of this to the State and were cleared to discharge,” said Holt. “Nothing was ever hidden or kept secret. I did exactly what the State told me to do.”

On March 24, 2016, the EPA filed a motion to withdraw their complaint against Holt. The motion was not opposed by Holt and on March 25, 2016, the administrative law judge granted the motion and dismissed the action.

“I suppose what I find most interesting about this whole situation is how the media took it upon themselves to play jury and executioner,” continued Holt. “Multiple outlets made claims that the EPA had fined me hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Obviously, none of that is true. I was never fined a single penny.”

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