MARSHALL - The Minnesota Court of Appeals has affirmed the decisions of Lyon County commissioners in amending a conditional use permit for a feedlot involved in a manure discharge last fall.
Court of Appeals Judge Michelle Larkin filed an opinion Monday regarding an appeal brought by Lyon County farmer Donald DeLanghe. The opinion upheld the Lyon County Board's decision to amend the CUP for DeLanghe's feedlot, stating that the board's actions were "not arbitrary or capricious."
In September, about 800,000 gallons of manure from the feedlot were applied to 26 acres of DeLanghe's land, and rainy conditions caused the manure to run off into public waterways. The board found that this was a violation of the CUP for DeLanghe's feedlot, which regulates factors including manure storage. Instead of revoking the permit for violations, the board voted to add amendments further regulating how DeLanghe stored and spread manure, and requiring him to provide the county with a $15,000 financial assurance for the costs of any future manure spills.
DeLanghe also received a $10,000 civil penalty from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency this summer, related to the manure discharge.
DeLanghe said he objected to five of the county's amendments to the CUP and appealed the decision in court.
The judge's opinion said commissioners' actions in deciding to amend DeLanghe's CUP were "not arbitrary or capricious." The opinion said the amendments were not rushed through - in fact, county records showed the CUP and amendments were considered at several public meetings and hearings between October and December 2010.
DeLanghe, Lyon County feedlot officer John Biren and members of the public all commented at the meetings, and DeLanghe also gave input on the creation of the amendments.
The opinion also said the county had the right to revoke or imposed conditions on a feedlot permit it issued, and that it may impose conditions more restrictive than those required by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to protect the public interest.
Within the context of the manure discharge, the opinion said, it was reasonable for the county to amend the permit.