Claiming that the evidence in the case against them is now more than 13 years old, a group of poultry producers including Tyson Foods, Cargill Inc. and others have filed a motion for dismissal of a federal ruling that they polluted the Illinois River watershed in Oklahoma.
“This case is constitutionally moot because the court can no longer grant any effectual relief,” the companies argued in a filing with U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell in Tulsa, Okla., according to an Associated Press report. In addition, the filing noted that conservation officials have seen a steady decline in pollution, saying improved wastewater treatment, poultry litter management and fewer poultry farms have made an impact over time.
The court ruled against the companies in January, saying they were responsible for the pollution of the Illinois River, and had until mid-March to work with Oklahoma officials to clean and protect the watershed — despite the trial having ended in 2013, a decade prior. In March, the judge granted a three-month extension for the plan, but both sides stated recently that mediation had failed.
The motion filed by the defendants further stated: “The Court’s findings and conclusions rest upon a record compiled in 2005–2009. … When this Court issued its findings and conclusions ... much of the record dated from the 1990s and early 2000s.”
The group of companies included in the ruling are Cal-Maine Foods Inc., Tyson Poultry Inc., Tyson Chicken Inc., Cobb-Vantress Inc., Cargill Turkey Production LLC, George’s Inc., George’s Farms Inc., Peterson Farms Inc. and Simmons Foods Inc.