In anticipation of the July 17th meeting, of the Iowa DNR Environmental Protection Commission (EPC), the Clayton County Conservation Awareness Board delivered a communication to the EPC, regarding the agenda item labeled “Referral to the Attorney General, Walz LLC.”
CCCAN supports referral of Walz Energy case to Iowa Attorney General
Dear EPC commissioners,
On behalf of the Clayton County Conservation Awareness Network (CCCAN), we urge you to approve the recommendation of Iowa DNR staff to refer Walz Energy LLC to the Iowa Attorney General’s office to address Walz’s continuing violations of state and federal permits. We understand that this item is on the agenda for your July 17 meeting. We hope to have a spokesperson there to answer questions.
As you may know, Walz Energy’s proposed 10,000-head cattle feeding and methane digester operation has been under construction in Clayton County near Monona for more than a year. During that time, CCCAN and others repeatedly have voiced concerns over the location of the project in the watershed of Bloody Run Creek, which is an Outstanding Iowa Water and a popular trout stream. These concerns seem to have been justified by multiple violations of the NPDES permit, which have been documented by DNR staff. It also should be noted that the NPDES permit only was issued after construction had been under way for several months.
It also should be noted that Walz refused to agree to a DNR consent order, which the staff had proposed to settle the matter administratively, rather than judicially.
While some might commend Walz for a proposal to convert livestock waste to natural gas, and perhaps reduce problems associated with handling manure, we believe the watershed of a premier northeast Iowa stream is the wrong place for such an experiment. The site is underlain with fractured limestone (karst,), which means that waste could enter the groundwater or sinkholes. The risks of contamination of Bloody Run, pollution of the Jordan aquifer, and impacts on nearby tourist destinations such as Spook Cave, are simply too great. We urge that you request the Iowa Attorney General to take whatever actions are necessary to assure the protection of Iowa’s waters and lands.
The Clayton County Conservation Awareness Network is a nonprofit organization that strives to build public knowledge and concern about environmental issues affecting Clayton County and adjacent regions of northeast Iowa.
President, Clayton County Conservation Awareness Network
Clayton County CAN kindly requests the CCCAN membership to take action, by contacting each of the Iowa DNR Environmental Protection Commissioners (click on this link for email contact info). Respondents should urge EPC commissioners to follow IDNR staff recommendation, by referring the Walz Energy LLC case of continued state and federal discharge permit violations, to the Iowa Attorney General’s office. It is important the EPC commissioners hear from Iowans, prior to the July 17th meeting, regarding the continued discharge violations of Walz Energy LLC into the Bloody Run trout stream. CCCAN members are encouraged to use all or part of the language used in our letter to the IA EPC.