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Guest Column: Jim Sacia supports mega-dairy over IEPA objectsions

August 11, 2010

By Bern Colleran

What is it that impels State Rep. Jim Sacia to unrelentingly give disproportionate support to a citizen of California who seeks to degrade the quality of life of several thousand citizens of Illinois in order to make a profit? Way back at the start of 2008, Sacia told those Illinois citizens at several open meetings that he “had an open mind” on whether the proposed “Traditions” Dairy would be good for Jo Daviess County. He was still claiming to be open-minded all through a period of shameless boosterism for the California guy and his 10,000 manure-making machines. (Sorry, but you can’t call them livestock when they’re part of an assembly line.)

Everyone please think back to those columns where Sacia proudly wrote about paddling around in a rowboat on a manure pond of the California guy’s mega-dairy in the name of research. Seems kinda funny in retrospect, doesn’t it?

Now, Sacia uses last week’s rain disaster and his “captive audience” freebie newspaper column in the Journal-Standard to put in yet another plug for his California pal, implying in his usual wacky way that God may let nature leak on us, and Chicago may release sewage into Lake Michigan, but those confined animal factories never do.

But far more ominously, 30 months into the fray, another Sacia action confirms what we suspected way back in the beginning, that something evidently has really got its hooks into Sacia. We learn that on April 12 of this year, Sacia signed and sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Enforcement Section, Regulatory Branch on behalf of the California guy. Sacia asked the Army Corps to waive its requirement that the California guy obtain a 401 Water Quality Certification before the Army Corps will make permanent its permit to build a manure pond right on top of one of our streams, a tributary of the beautiful Apple River.

Now, this little intervention might seem a nice thing for an Illinois state representative to do for someone who wants to do business here, even though he’s from California, and the people who oppose “Traditions” are from Illinois. Might seem—until you look closer—like he’s asking some troublesome federal bureaucrats to get out of the way and let the state handle its own environment. The problem with that theory is that the department that is holding up the  401 Certificate is an Illinois agency, the Illinois EPA. It seems there is something about the design and/or execution of “Traditions” that has failed to satisfy the Illinois EPA for the two years since the mega-dairy first applied for the Certificate.

We suspect there must be some serious environmental implications in all this because the Illinois EPA is usually very easy to please, and if the water quality plans of “Traditions” don’t pass muster with the Illinois EPA, well, God knows.

Now, it looks like the Illinois EPA is going to hold a hearing to determine whether the 401 Certification is deserved. That’s going to take time, and time is the California guy’s money. But that’s what Illinois regulations evidently require, and Jim Sacia is a standup Illinois public official who has always proclaimed in those public hearings that he respects those sacrosanct regulations.

But now there’s this letter to the Army Corps, a terse little thing of two paragraphs that looks almost like it was intended to be snuck in somewhere so nobody would notice. (And no one did notice until it emerged in a FOIA this week.)

“I would like to support Tradition (sic) Dairy in Jo Daviess County with their correspondence to you for consideration of waiver to the 401 Water Quality Certification permit. Thank you for your diligence to this matter along with an appreciation for your consideration. Very Truly Yours, Jim Sacia. Cc: Nic Anderson.”

And we’re left with the image of an Illinois state representative who is privileged to write legislation that creates Illinois regulations, a man who regularly stands up at public hearings and urges us to “let the regulatory process work,” now attempting to use his office and official credentials to influence other public officials to ignore the requirements of his own state’s regulations to benefit someone who seeks to avoid that regulation. The essence of Sacia’s letter is that an official of the State of Illinois is urging federal officials to ignore regulations of the State of Illinois in a regulatory matter where he has already demonstrated a decided bias. Is that malfeasance or what?

Shame. And more shame.

Bern Colleran is a retired journalist and a resident of Warren, Ill.

From the Aug. 11-17, 2010 issue

17 Comments

  1. Nic Anderson

    August 14, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Bern seems to have missed the Corps letter to IEPA about missing a 1 year deadline. Looks like Sacia is just holding IEPA accountable.>>>>>>>>>

    Mr. Allen Keller P.E.
    Manager permit Section
    Division of Water pollution Control
    1021 North Grand Avenue East
    Springfield Illinois, 62794

    Subject: Section 401 Water Quality Certification for tradition Dairy, Jo Daviess County, IEPA log #C-0263-08

    Dear Mr. Keller

    We are writing regarding the permit application that we have from Tradition Dairy, and the attached letter from the applicant regarding your 401 Water Quality Certification.
    We seek your comments on this matter.

    We received the permit application nearly two years ago. Under the Clean Water Act,33 U.S.C & 1341(a), if a state fails to act on a request for water certification within one year, the certification is waived.

    We are attempting to determine weather a waiver has occurred in this instance. Has your agency received a valid request for certification? If it did, when did this occur? Also, please provide any additional information on this matter so the Corps of Engineers can make an informed decision regarding waiver. Please provide your comments by 30 April 2010.

    Sincerely
    Daniel J. Johnson
    Chief Regulatory Branch
    U.S.C.O.E

  2. Susan Turner

    August 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Why is the Keller letter undated?
    Why does Representative Sacia waive or support a waive that impedes protection of the public at large from water contamination?
    IN A CORRECT AND ACCURATE TIMELINE, DATES ARE REQUIRED. This letter to Keller is more than likely out of context or the date would be included. As of court trial 12/09, Traditions had not turned in required information and application to the IEPA thus creating a disconnect and delay in departments and the permitting process. The representative is not acting on behalf of constituents that pay taxes in the 89th district. He is wooing one of the largest ammonia emitters in the country to open up shop(originally proposed 12,000 cow mega dairy) in beautiful Jo Daviess County. 43 acres of manure set upon the origin of the Apple River. Sacia thinks it fine to fill in 300 ft of stream, and then store 43 acres of manure on top. A design for disaster.

  3. John

    August 16, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Why is ther no date on this letter? Could it be that Traditions did NOT give the information that IEPA repeatly requested?
    ZOINKIES SCOOBY DOO!
    I’m glad that so many concerned citizens, activists and federal agencies are investigating the corruption that Illinois politicians and their lobbyists have felt too comfortable for too long with.

  4. Walter M. Johnson

    August 16, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Dear Mr.Anderson,could it be that the IEPA is doing the right thing by not issuing information,because Mr. Bos has not done everything that was to be done,as well as testing that needed to be done…so how do you issue permits when you do not have all the information…Are you trying to tell me that it is ok to stall and not provide the information that needs to be provided at the time it is stated and then expect the IEPA to just hand out information or the go ahead and build status. If,this is allowed to happen then we really have something very wrong here. If, I was a State Representative candidate,(which I was)then I would have to be ” neutral”,you should let the courts decide on the issue of Traditions Dairy.You are suppose to REPRESENT both sides of the issue on this.In 2008,when I ran against Mr. Sacia(who is 100%) for Traditions Dairy, I was against Traditions Dairy,because I knew the many impacts this dairy would do to the county. So in conclusion, please Mr. Anderson,keep telling us how great Mr. Sacia is and how he is a great champion for everything.

    Walter Johnson

  5. John

    August 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Poor Nic. He’s having a hard time keeping up with the Bern letter.
    It’s all over the nation and many parts of the world.
    Koodos to the World Wide Web.
    And Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
    Get it, Nic?

  6. Nic Anderson

    August 18, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Looks like a little deception on Berns part.

    Suzy John and Walter should be upset with Bern………Shame Shame!

    FROM BERN COLLERAN 305 COLE ST., WARREN, ILL.

    To: Brown Hodge, Carolyn, office of Governor Quinn
    Cc: dave albee;
    Subject: Here’s a development

    Carolyn:

    Left message for you earlier alerting you that the Attorney for the H.O.M.E.S. group (the Jo Daviess County MegaDairy issue) was going to contact you re: latest development in the saga. The attorney, Dave Albee
    has gotten extremely busy for the next 24 hours on another legal development, so I volunteered to get the message to you.

    And it is this:
    If you’ll take 3 minutes to read the ATTACHED press release which we’re confident will get some press
    up in the NW corner of the state, it will likely strike you, as it does us, that there is a serious disconnect between 2 of the state’s agencies on the issue.

    We have, on the one hand:
    The Department of Agriculture which continues to refuse to review its own approval last May of a permit for the Nora, Illinois Megadairy despite very numerous problems the department has had with details of the application even SINCE theapproval…………….As you also know, Governor Quinn’s letter to the Jo Daviess County Board was instrumental in securing the first official opposition to the factory farm 17 months ago.

    Carolyn, forgive us, but we in Jo Daviess County cannot keep from thinking that it is time the Governor took action to stop the official charade being perpetrated by Dept of Agriculture.

    >We think it’s time theGovernor hinted to the Ag Dept< that a review of this case would be a good thing for Illinois. The pronouncement by ISGS gives everyone, including even the Department of Agriculture, an opportunity to say,

    'Well, in light of this clear evidence from ISGS, perhaps we ought to look at this issue again for the sake of the state's natural resources and the neighbors who rely on the State to fulfill its constitutional mandate to provide a healthy environment.'

    Thanks for anything you can do to get this matter before the Governor who, we know from experience, will do the best thing.

    Bern Colleran
    Warren, Illinois

  7. Susan Turner

    August 18, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    So Nic, I still think Bern is intelligent, and forthright…traits that would befuddle a paid lobbyist, who’s job is becoming obsolete.

    ANY private citizen who wishes to communicate with a government office is free to do so. I’m sure you know this, and have managed to wear out your welcome.
    Beware livestock owners, hide your money in your mattress, Nic Anderson of the Il. Livestock Development Group is coming. He will lead you down the road to disaster just like A.J. Bos of Bakersfield CA.

    There would have been no legal battle needed without Nic Anderson force feeding a 10,ooo cow mega dairy less than 2 miles from homes,businesses, schools, clinic, churches etc.43 lovely acres of manure atop the origin of the Apple River. The facility would be legally able to double every 2 years with no setbacks…..
    Why don’t you set up the same proposal for Divernon, IL.?

  8. Nic Anderson

    August 18, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Here s a link to some real intelligence.

    I would be real proud to “befuddle” this lesson to my children.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pje69hExqwo

  9. John

    August 19, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Nic,
    Why don’t your letters have any dates on them? Why do you waste everyones time in trying to deceive? Do you also doctor up or alter in any way, your paperwork in your office?

  10. John

    August 19, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I wouldn’t go to any website you offer. There’s probably a virus so a good shower and 14 days of penecillian will be required.

  11. Nic Anderson

    August 19, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    John, are you still a reporter for the Journal Standard?

    This would make good press over there.

    Why havn’t they picked up on Sacia’s good works?

    Feel free to call or email

    217/622-7491

    ILDG@ILFB.org

  12. John

    August 21, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Nic,

    Come on over for breakfast. I’ll scramble

    you some eggs.

  13. John

    August 21, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Good work?

  14. John

    August 21, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Nic,
    Could you please explain what happened to all of those eggs?

  15. Nic Anderson

    August 27, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Bern Colleran is having some trouble with holding together his commentary on Jim Sacia and the Corp of Engineers so call undermining and insinuation and manipulation.

    In defending his original guest column he as a retired journalist has now quoted the Corp of Engineers without providing who he talked to in his so called conversation.

    Very convenient!

    As a matter of fact I did Call Dan Johnson and Mike Hayes of the CORP in the Rock Island District office and shared with them Bern Collerans Quote “conversation” with the CORP. There response to me was “We made no such statement.”

    Possibly Bern could provide this discussion with his source at the CORP or polish up on his journalistic integrity.

  16. Susan Turner

    August 27, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    And anyone should believe your ” alleged” call on what date Nic?

    Integrity is Bern Colleran’s middle name.

  17. Lawrence

    August 27, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    A call was made to Jims office and asked about his letter. Jim laughed and belittled the caller and said he dosen’t have to answer to anyone as to what he does. Funny if that conversation happened to be recorded. When Jim was informed, or really reminded of the fact that for two years Traditions has not paid their fee and did not complete the applications, Jim said, he didn’t know that. What a LIAR Jim is and a what a weasly worm he is.

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