Tennessee lawmaker faces EPA fine

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just filed a civil complain against Tennessee State Representative Andy Holt, requesting a fine of up to $177,500. According to the complaint, pollution from Holt's hog farm has violated the federal Clean Water Act. A notice of proposed penalty assessment obtained by Tennessee's NewsChannel 5 has noted that the state representative may request a meeting to discuss an out of court settlement.

When asked for a statement on the matter, Holt claimed that he "loves a good fight," while calling the penalty "pretty stiff." Holt currently serves as the vice chair of the House Agriculture Committee, where he's voice heavy criticism of the federal agency, calling it "very politicized much like the IRS."

The EPA's letter cites several cases of Holt's infractions, including two separate instances in 2011 when the representative's farm discharged over half a million gallons of waste water into a nearby creek. A footnote claims the federal agency also has evidence of another three instances, though they all fall outside the statute of limitations.

The letter goes on to allege that Holt's farm operated for years without an appropriate permit. Holt responded by claiming that the waste water incident was caused by a lagoon overflowing, and that he's tried several times to obtain the permits needed to operate his farm.

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