Judge Tosses Suit over Northwest Iowa City’s Odor Ordinance

June 20, 2019

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — A northwest Iowa company that’s been fined thousands of dollars for the stink coming from its plant lost its lawsuit targeting the city of Sibley’s odor ordinance.

Judge Leonard Strand of the U.S. District Court in Sioux City granted Sibley’s motion for a summary judgment, rejecting claims by Iowa Drying & Processing that the ordinance was unconstitutionally vague, the Sioux City Journal reported.

Iowa Drying & Processing said the city’s enforcement unfairly targeted the company and interfered with efforts to sell the plant. The operation had drawn numerous complaints from residents about the smell from its production of a high-protein animal food supplement from pig blood and other animal byproducts.

Strand wrote in a 38-page ruling filed this month, “The ordinance is a valid exercise of Sibley’s police powers, authorized by Iowa law, and constitutionally permissible.”

The stink in Sibley, a community of 2,700 people about 70 miles northeast of Sioux City, also prompted a separate lawsuit involving resident Josh Harms, who sued after city officials threatened legal action against him for saying on a website that Sibley smelled like “rancid dog food.”

Strand ruled against the city in Harms’ case, barring officials from making more threats and ordering the city to pay him $6,500 in damages and $20,000 in legal fees.

From 2016 to 2018, the city issued Iowa Drying & Processing at least 45 citations with fines totaling $42,850.

Iowa Drying & Processing operated the plant under an arrangement with a Minnetonka, Minnesota, company called ChemSol. Both sued Sibley in 2018.

Attorney Scott Carlson, who represented the companies, said he thinks the plant is still for sale. Iowa Drying & Processing has paid all fines, Carlson said.

City administrator Glenn Anderson said the plant’s operation has improved and the city hasn’t cited the company for an odor violation since April 2018.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.