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Published: Thursday, 8/28/2003

Attorney, state argue appeal of close order

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS - State attorneys yesterday urged an appeals board to support the Taft administration's decision to shut down Buckeye Egg Farm.

Margaret Malone, an assistant state attorney general, accused Buckeye Egg's attorney of trying to persuade the state Environmental Review Appeals Commission to ignore the megafarm's repeated environmental violations - including water pollution and massive fly outbreaks.

“There is no answer to it, it's so bad,” Ms. Malone told the three-member commission.

David Northrup, an attorney representing Buckeye Egg, said the commission should overturn the July 8 decision by Fred Dailey, director of the state Department of Agriculture, to order Buckeye Egg to close two barns a week.

Mr. Dailey's order included removing all birds from the Marseilles facility in Wyandot County, the Croton farms in Licking County, the Goshen farm in Hardin County, and the Mount Victory barns in Hardin County.

The Environmental Review Appeals Commission stayed Mr. Dailey's order from taking effect as it hears Buckeye Egg's appeal. Yesterday was the final scheduled hearing.

Mr. Northrup said Buckeye Egg did not receive due process because Mr. Dailey showed bias against Buckeye in a letter last year to the Columbus Dispatch, and because a state hearing office refused to review evidence that operations have improved over the past year.



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