Closing arguments for Oklahoma’s poultry pollution lawsuit today
BY CURTIS KILLMAN World Staff Writer
Thursday, February 18, 2010
2/18/10 at 12:51 PM
Closing arguments in the state of Oklahoma’s poultry pollution lawsuit are being held today in Tulsa Federal Court.
The arguments conclude a 50-day, non-jury trial held before U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell.
The state is asking Frizzell to limit the amount of poultry waste that can be applied to fields in the Illinois River watershed to not more than 65 pounds per acre.
The state also wants all poultry waste that cannot be land applied under the standard to be removed from the watershed.
The state is also asking that the defendants pay to remediate the watershed as well as the plaintiff’s attorney fees, litigation costs and unspecified civil penalties.
The defendants, which include Tyson Foods and 10 other poultry companies, contend the state has not proven the watershed has suffered irreparable injury.
While there is evidence in the record of increased algae production and heightened phosphorus in some parts of the watershed, there is no credible evidence that those conditions would be made better if poultry litter applications were banned or even reduced, the defense asserts.
The defense alleges that the dominant form of phosphorus under most conditions in the watershed is actually from wastewater treatment plants.
It is unlikely that the court will issue a ruling in the case Thursday and will instead review filings submitted by both sides before making its ruling.
Photo of a chicken house which houses 17,000 newly hatched chicks. The house must be kept at 95 degrees for the chicks' first 5 days of life in order for them to survive. Photo by A. Cuervo