One of the largest farm businesses in the state expanded its operation and constructed a manure pit in Franklin County last summer — without a permit or state oversight.
The state has now retroactively required a permit for the farm expansion.
But an advocate who discovered it while investigating farm pollution is now citing the case as evidence of lax state enforcement over large scale dairy farming.
Michael Colby is a long-time farm and environmental advocate who conducted an on-the-ground investigation last summer when phosphorus pollution (much of it from agriculture) caused widespread toxic algae blooms in northern Lake Champlain and Lake Carmi in Franklin County.
On one of his trips to Franklin County, Colby met Rob Hemond, a local bait shop owner on Lake Carmi.
He was one of those guys “who knew everybody,” Colby said. “And he took us around for days and days.”