Oklahoma Lawsuit Blames River's Decline On Poultry

by 5m Editor
15 July 2005, at 12:00am

OKLAHOMA - When Drew Edmondson went to college here, the nearby Illinois River flowed so clear he could stand chest-deep and still see his toes. The water was such a temptation, &quot;I majored in river,&quot; he says four decades later. With the river now murky and green, the Oklahoma attorney general&#39;s nostalgia quickly turns to blame aimed at the $2 billion poultry industry straddling the Arkansas-Oklahoma line. &quot;I&#39;ve seen it change,&quot; Edmondson said. &quot;It&#39;s watching the slow destruction of a probably irretrievable asset.&quot; Last month, he sued 14 Arkansas poultry companies in federal court -- including three run by Tyson Foods Inc., the world&#39;s largest meat producer -- for allegedly tainting Oklahoma waters with waste from millions of chickens and turkeys. Applied to farmland as fertilizer, the poultry litter has created a verdant landscape in the Illinois River watershed. But the land can&#39;t hold all the nutrients, and the runoff believed to be fueling explosive algae growth downstream in Oklahoma amounts to hazardous waste, the state&#39;s lawsuit alleges. <i>Source:</i>

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