A federal bankruptcy judge has allowed the proposed sale of the Lost Valley Farm to proceed despite objections by Oregon agencies over who will clean up the dairy’s wastewater and manure. Court-appointed trustee Randy Sugarman recently entered into an asset purchase agreement for Canyon Farm LLC to buy the dairy’s land, equipment, property and water rights for $66.9 million.
The state Department of Agriculture and state Department of Environmental Quality objected last week to the sale, questioning who will be responsible for cleaning up the property to avoid potential environmental harm. According to Capital Press, the Boardman dairy farm has approximately 47 million gallons (178 million liters) of liquid manure.
“The current status of the property poses a risk to the environment and the groundwater that must continue to be remediated following any sale,” Scott Belden, the agencies’ attorney, wrote in a court filing.
Judge Fredrick Clement overruled the objections this week, allowing to sale to move forward. Officials say the dairy has been out of compliance with its wastewater permit since it began operations in 2017. Lost Valley owner Greg te Velde declared bankruptcy in April 2018, forestalling a planned auction of his cows as part of a bank foreclosure.
Trustee Sugarman will retain the dairy’s state permit, making him responsible for cleanup. The state agencies said a settlement agreement has not been finalized with Sugarman about how the cleanup will occur. Sugarman told the court last week that the sale is necessary to move forward with cleanup. The diary is continuing to work with the agencies on a settlement agreement, and it is committed to cleaning up “in accordance with standards agreed to by both parties to ensure the protection of the environment,” Lost Valley spokeswoman Liz Fuller said.
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