Columbia County Rancher gets
by Eric Mortenson
Ordered to shut down cattle operation
A Columbia County cattle rancher with history of regulatory run-ins has been ordered to shut down his operation, fined $300,000 and sentenced to five days in jail for discharging cattle waste into tributaries of the Columbia River.
William Holdner, who turned 86 March 18, was convicted on two felony counts of first-degree water pollution and 25 counts of second-degree water pollution. He can avoid $225,000 of the fine if he complies with a timeline set by the judge, including liquidating his cattle operation within 90 days.
The evidence showed that Holdner illegally discharged cattle waste into Mud Creek and South Scappoose Creek, and ran a cattle operation without proper permits.
According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, cattle ranches such as Holdner's require a confined-animal feeding operation permit.
Among other things, owners must have a waste management plan that describes how they will prevent waste from entering creeks, ponds, groundwater or other "waters of the state."
Attorneys with the Oregon Department of Justice's Environmental Crimes Unit prosecuted the case. In a statement, Attorney General John Kroger said the sentencing sends the message that polluting the state's rivers is not acceptable.
"Prosecuting cases like this ensures that businesses who comply with environmental laws are not at a competitive disadvantage," he said.
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