FreeWine
Green Water on The Illinois River

Poultry Companies Given Extension to Plan Cleanup of Oklahoma Watershed Pollution

March 20, 2023
Both sides of nearly 20-year-old lawsuit requested the extension, after poultry companies had originally been given until March 17 to develop cleanup plans for Illinois River.

A federal judge has granted an extension of approximately three months for nearly a dozen poultry companies to work with the state of Oklahoma to clean and protect the Illinois River watershed, after it was ruled in January that poultry litter from those processors had polluted the waterway.

March 17 had been the original deadline set by the judge for the poultry companies to work with the state on a plan to clean and maintain the river. Now, the state and the companies have until June 9 to submit a joint status report. The extension reportedly was requested by both sides, and Gentner Drummond, attorney general for Oklahoma, told The Associated Press that “lengthy and productive discussions” had occurred to this point.

The lawsuit, originally filed in 2005, claimed the poultry companies polluted the Illinois River, caused a public nuisance and trespassed by spreading the litter, which then leached into the river’s watershed. A federal judge sided with the state in a January 2023 ruling.

Companies named in the lawsuit included Tyson Foods, Cargill, Cal-Maine Foods, Cobb-Vantress, George’s, Peterson Farms and Simmons Foods — as well as various poultry subsidiaries of several of those companies.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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