AP News

Court penalizes Lexington plant owner nearly $2.3M


OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the company that operated a rendering plant in Lexington to pay nearly $2.3 million for violating the federal Clean Water Act and the Nebraska Environmental Protection Act.

A news release from the Environmental Protection Agency says STABL Inc. has 60 days to appeal the decision, which was handed down last week.

The court said STABL had violated terms of its wastewater discharge limits hundreds of times between August 2006 and May 2010, resulting in an economic benefit to the company of more than $1.1 million. The pollutants included ammonia, oil and grease.

The EPA said STABL violated the Clean Water Act for 1,533 days and it exceeded its discharge permit limits on 1,470 days.

"The actions by Stabl over a multi-year period demonstrate a lack of compliance that had serious consequences for the city of Lexington, Neb., and the fragile Platte River basin," Regional EPA Administrator Karl Brooks said.

An attorney for STABL, formerly known as Nebraska By-Products, didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Monday.

The Nebraska secretary of state's office dissolved STABL's parent corporation in 2012 after it failed to pay taxes. The judge said STABL didn't present any evidence about whether it will be able to pay the fines.

The rendering plant in Lexington was sold to another firm in 2010 for $15.2 million. The company that purchased the plant, Darling International, made improvements to reduce pollution. Darling was never a defendant in the EPA lawsuit, and it isn't liable for any of the fines.


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