Friday, October 17, 2003

Buckeye Egg likely to appeal state order to cease operating

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Buckeye Egg Farm probably will appeal a state commission's decision to uphold an order to shut down Ohio's largest egg producer, a company official said Thursday.

The Environmental Review Appeals Commission ruled Wednesday that Agriculture Director Fred Dailey acted properly July 8 when he revoked 12 existing permits and denied 11 permit applications for Buckeye Egg.

Because the original order required barn closures to start in August, the panel ordered Dailey to set a new date. Dailey said Wednesday he would do so soon.

Matthew Doyle, Buckeye Egg's chief financial officer, said Thursday an appeal would be filed if the order jeopardized the company's chance to sell its barns.

"Our only intention is to get to a position to allow the sale to occur," Doyle said.

Buckeye Egg owner Anton Pohlmann retired to his native Germany in 2002 after years of battles with state regulators and put the barns up for sale.

The state has fined Buckeye Egg more than $1 million since the mid-1990s because of neighbors' complaints of odor, fly infestations and manure spills from the company's farms in Licking, Hardin and Wyandot counties.

Buckeye Egg had about 90 barns still open during the summer. The company produces 4 percent of the nation's eggs - 2.6 billion last year.

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