EPA drops pollution complaint against Rep. Holt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has dropped a complaint seeking $177,500 in fines from a state lawmaker for discharging waste from his northwestern Tennessee hog farm without a permit.

The EPA withdrew the filing against Rep. Andy Holt after the Dresden Republican agreed to an order of consent on the closure of two lagoons on his property. The agency reserved the right to refile the complaint if Holt fails to comply with the order.

Holt called the resolution of the dispute an “interesting process,” and thanked supporters for standing by his family.

According to the August complaint, Holt’s farm discharged a total of more than 860,000 gallons from lagoons on the farm raising nearly 1,500 swine without proper authorization. Holt said he self-reported the overflow after heavy rainfall.

Note: Rep. Holt’s press release on the matter is below.

News release from Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden
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. A timely answer was filed by Holt, and there were motions to amend both the complaint & the answer. The complaint was referred to an administrative judge for an alternative dispute resolution process.

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.”

Andy Holt is the Republican State Representative for District 76, which includes Weakley, as well as, parts of Obion and Carroll counties.