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Attorneys for South Dakota Hutterite Colonies receive EPA Environmental Achievement Award

Release Date: 09/16/2008
Contact Information: Steven M. Pirner, SD DENR, 605-773-5559 Tim Davis, EPA, 303-312-6531,

(Denver, Colo. -- September 16, 2008) Jeff Sveen and Rod Tobin, as a result of working with the South Dakota Hutterite Colonies, were awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Achievement Award for superior leadership in obtaining water pollution control permits for all South Dakota Hutterite colonies with concentrated animal feeding operations. Sveen and Tobin are attorneys with Siegel, Barnett & Schutz, L.L.P. The award was presented by Lawrence D. Grandison, director of the Office of Communication and Public Involvement in EPA's Region 8 office.

Sveen and Tobin represent at least 56 Hutterite Colonies in South Dakota. The Hutterites are the largest producers of confined livestock in South Dakota. Each colony consists of about 100 to 150 people in a community with a portion of their income generated through the production of swine, turkeys, beef and dairy cattle, chickens, ducks, and geese in concentrated animal feeding operations and animal feeding operations.

The Hutterite Colonies are leaders of the South Dakota livestock production industry. Most of the colonies in South Dakota have been proactively constructing manure containment systems since before the Clean Water Act was passed. However, some did not have manure management systems and some of the existing systems were inadequate to meet current standards. Because they had existing, multiple livestock operations, it was a complex process for many of the colonies to construct or reconstruct manure containment systems so they could get permitted under the general water pollution control permit for concentrated animal feeding operations.

"Thanks to the leadership of Mr. Sveen and Mr. Tobin, and the hard work of the Hutterites, the Hutterite colonies all have general permit coverage now," Grandison said. "This is indeed a huge environmental accomplishment."

EPA Region 8 presents awards in four categories to individuals and groups external to the regional office. This award recognizes significant achievements in protection of public health or the environment, or in advancing the Agency's current strategic goals. Among the criteria is an outstanding contribution to environmental protection through a single action, or by an ongoing action over an appreciable period of time.