Saturday, May 12, 2007

Birthday Thanks and IDEM getting Sued?

It's my birthday today... and the flowers and gifts started arriving late yesterday. Just wanted to let everyone know how pleasantly surprised I am. You've all truly made this an incredible day -- and it's only just begun!

I'll be writing each of you but just wanted to post a
here, too. I'm truly blessed to know such wonderful people!

What's happening at IDEM?

I was going to leave this news story for tomorrow, but thought it should be posted while the story is still new...

Most of us here in Jasper County don't get the LaGrange News from LaGrange, Indiana but a friend forwarded me a scanned copy of this story published yesterday, (Friday, May 11/2007):
Local group sends notice of intent to sue IDEM (by Rochelle Schlemmer) -- A group of LaGrange County residents has sought legal counsel and has sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) under the Citizen Suit provisions of the Clean Water Act.

The suit stems from the group's claim that IDEM is considering granting a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit for a fictitious entity "Toll-Tail Diry, LLC."

The application for the CAFO submitted by Aart-Jan Venema stating the applicant's name as Toll-Tail Dairy, LLC was signed under the penalty for perjury by Venema on June 27, 2006.

Toll-Tail Dairy, LLC was not in existence at that time, according to the news article.
Documentation from Secretary of State Todd Rokita certifies the "Toll-Tail Dairy LLC" has filed the necessary documents to commence business activities in the State of Indiana on April 23, 2007 and is authorized to transact business in the State of Indiana on April 26, 2007.

The intent to sue notification states that the LaGrange County residents have "instructed the initiation of a federal lawsuit seeking de-certification of IDEM's authority to administer the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) in Indiana.

The document goes on to state, "Whether this suit is filed depends on how IDEM handles the illegal CWA NPDES application for the fictitious entity 'Toll-Tail Dairy, LLC'"

There is more mentioned in the article, including questions into "...a pattern of other fictitious CWA NPDES applications associated with underlying developer Vreba-Hoff..."

So the big question was raised:

If IDEM fails to penalize Toll-Tail Dairy LLC (and others who have committed similar perjuries), does this create an environment where applicants are aware that no legal action will be taken against them for providing false information?

I said it before, and I'll say it again... I like to believe we are entering an era of accountability and responsibility.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out the next article by Rochelle Schlemmer that appears in the LaGrange newspaper at

Hoosiers for Sustainable Agriculture have filed an appeal with IDEM and a lawsuit in the county. The article tells more about the appeal and first lawsuit.