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State Sues Dairy Farm Over Allegations Of Unpermitted Expansion

Attorney General TJ Donocan at podium outside against brick buildings.
Liam Elder-Connors
Attorney General TJ Donovan announces a complaint filed in Franklin County Superior Court Thursday, alleging Pleasant Valley Farms violated state agricultural rules and regulations.

Vermont's attorney general is bringing a rare enforcement action against one of the state's largest dairy farms. The AG's office filed a seven-count complaint against Pleasant Valley Farms Thursday in Franklin County.

The complaint alleges that in 2017, owners Amanda and Mark St. Pierre expanded a barn and built a new 10 million gallon manure pit without notifying the state. Manure pit run off is a major contributor to pollution in Lake Champlain.

Speaking from the steps of the Franklin Country courthouse in St. Albans Thursday, Attorney General TJ Donovan said the farm never applied for the required state permits.

“Without the permit being issued, there is no opportunity to review whether the construction and the operation of the barn and associated manure storage will impact water quality,” Donovan said.

The St. Pierres did not respond to a request for comment. The state is asking the court to force Pleasant Valley Farms to comply with state regulations and pay fines.

The case first came to light in 2018, when an environmental advocate was investigating phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain.

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