Officials with Jerome Cheese are firing back at the Environmental Protection Agency in the wake of a lawsuit alleging the dairy giant violated the Clean Water Act repeatedly in the past five years. The suit carries penalties of at least $32,500 for each violation.
In a letter to the Magic Valley's Times-News, Jon Davis, Jerome Cheese's chief operations officer, said the feds had it all wrong.
"EPA created this problem by giving us the wrong limits in our permit," Davis wrote to the Times-News. "This is not a case about protecting the environment. This is a case about paperwork that EPA incorrectly issued and then failed to fix. EPA's actions are frustrating, to say the least."
According to the EPA, the city of Jerome's wastewater plant often exceeded limits for pollutants from 2005-2007 and again in 2009.
"The water we discharge is extraordinarily clean," said Davis.
The EPA suit alleges Jerome Cheese dumped its pollutants into an irrigation system that eventually flows into the Snake River.