DES MOINES, IA (AP)--State environmental officials declined to revoke a construction permit for a poultry plant near Dows, despite concern over the potential impact on groundwater and neighbors.

Members of the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission did not move Oct. 8 to revoke a permit sought by Environ Eggs Production Co.

The lack of action left Wright County Attorney Michael Houser disappointed. The county will investigate further options.

"To have so many commissioners say they are concerned about the viability of this proposal, understanding the risk to the citizens of Wright County, and to have this body basically impotent to act on their concerns because of inaction by the Department of Natural Resources and inattention by the Legislature--I'm very unhappy," Houser said.

Environ Eggs received a permit July 31 from the Department of Natural Resources to build a confinement operation that will house 1.8 million hens. The facility is under construction.

The commission voted 7-1 Sept. 17 to uphold the permit decision even though concerns about the plant design remained. Wright County had appealed the permit approval.

The commissioners decided Oct. 8 they had no legal grounds to revoke the plant's permit after meeting with DNR engineers and geologists.

Commission members have been concerned about the company's plans to lower the groundwater table below a lagoon that will store water that has been used to wash eggs.

DNR Director Jeff Vonk said DNR staff will personally monitor the groundwater test pits, reporting the results to the commission. Normally, the DNR would accept the data provided by the applicant.

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