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EPA Letter Challenges CBS News Report

Mr. Dan Farber
CBS News Interactive

Dear Mr. Farber,

I am writing to you to bring to your attention a development that updates and completes one of your recent investigative stories.
On March 15, CBS News Investigates posted a story on its website that appeared to report that Koch Industries was in violation of the Clean Water Act. The lead sentence of the story leaves readers with the strong impression that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was about to file a complaint against the company when, in fact, the complaint was to be filed by two environmental activist groups against a paper mill owned by a Koch subsidiary.

Those activist groups did indeed file a complaint with the EPA and the agency responded to them.

The EPA has determined that the paper mill in question, the Georgia-Pacific Crossett Operations Mill, continues to be in full compliance with state and federal environmental standards including the Clean Water Act. According to the EPA response, “there are no enforcement issues” associated with the paper mill or its operating permit, “there appears to be no violation of the permit condition related to foam,” and “we do not believe it is appropriate to for EPA to reopen (the paper mill’s operating permit) or to begin civil enforcement proceedings against the facility.”

In short, the EPA declined to take any action because the complaint was unfounded.
I have included a copy of the EPA letter so that your reporter, Chris Zawistowski, can update his story and you can ensure that your readers are fully informed about this significant development.

Philip Ellender
President, Government & Public Affairs
Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

Letter from United States Environmental Protection Agency to PEER and Ouachita Riverkeeper