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Board upholds ruling against dairy


ST. PAUL - A Thief River Falls-area dairy failed Tuesday to convince the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Citizens' Board that it was wrongfully denied the right to operate.

The MPCA board voted 8-0 to uphold Commissioner Paul Eger's decision that Excel Dairy does not comply with its manure handling permit.

The commissioner ruled in January that he would not issue Excel another permit after repeated complaints of air pollution and other issues.

The dairy requested the hearing so the MPCA board could reconsider Eger's ruling.

Excel's attorney, Jack Perry, said the dairy has solved or is working on solving its pollution issues. He asked the MPCA for guidance on dealing with remaining issues, adding that some were too expensive to handle without knowing the dairy will be able to operate in the future.


Robert Roche, an assistant attorney general, told the board that Excel repeatedly put off efforts to complete several fixes the agency required more than a year ago and was using the same arguments it did then to maintain the right to operate.

The dairy has been closed since January 2009, when the state filed air quality regulations against Excel and the Dairy Dozen, its parent company.

Excel filed for bankruptcy protection this month.

The dairy is also fighting for its permit in the Minnesota Appeals Court. It argued in March that the MPCA acted improperly in revoking the permit.

A decision in that case could come within weeks.

Tellijohn reports for Forum Communications Co.

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