EPA threatens action against Rep. Holt over hog farm pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is threatening action against Tennessee state Rep. Andy Holt because of pollution from his hog farm, according to WTVF-TV.

The federal agency sent the Dresden Republican a letter last month that stated he must “arrange a meeting in this office to show cause why the EPA should not take formal civil enforcement action against you.”

NewsChannel 5 Investigates reported in February that Holt’s hog farm polluted a nearby creek and operated for years without a permit.

We also reported that a state inspector wrote in his notes that “enforcement action was discouraged by upper management” at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The EPA letter, addressed to the Holt, listed three different times his Weakley County hog farm discharged hundreds of thousands of gallons from lagoons full of hog manure.

…In an interview earlier this year, Holt told NewsChannel 5 Investigates it had rained heavily before each incident and the lagoons were in danger of failing.

“In an effort not to lose all the manure that’s impounded in that facility, then what you do is remove a portion of that,” Holt said.

He also claimed he alerted the state before each incident.

“Personally, I think regulation should be learning opportunities. Each one of those should be a learning opportunity to do better,” Holt said.

Holt has been critical of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The U.S. EPA is an entity that I think has become very politicized, much like the IRS,” Holt said in the January interview.

Holt has argued that environmental regulation is best left to states.