Watershed pollution trial starts in Tulsa

BY CURTIS KILLMAN - Tulsa World Modified: September 25, 2009 at 5:12 am •  Published: September 25, 2009
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TULSA — Attorney General Drew Edmondson painted a bleak picture of the Illinois River watershed Thursday as the state opened its case in a pollution lawsuit against the poultry industry.

Lake Tenkiller, once described as "crystal clear,” has become polluted over the years with a "great deal of the responsibility” at the hands of the poultry industry, he said.

Hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys are raised each year in the watershed, which straddles the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line, Edmondson said. The resulting poultry waste is applied to area fields as fertilizer for crops, he said.

The attorney general said the state would present evidence during the trial — which is expected to involve 40 to 50 days of testimony — that will show how excessive use of poultry "litter,” as the waste is called by the industry, has contributed to the degradation of its lakes and streams.

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Also named in the lawsuit
The other defendants named in the lawsuit are Cargill Inc., 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.

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