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Review Promised of 'Illinois River Poultry Case'

by 5m Editor
9 November 2010, at 8:46a.m.

OKLAHOMA, US - The state's new Attorney General has vowed to review the 'poultry lawsuit' over alleged pollution caused by the poultry industry.

Oklahoma's new attorney general, who accepted thousands of dollars in campaign donations from poultry industry employees, has said that once he takes office, he will review whether the state should press on with a lawsuit accusing the industry widespread pollution.

Business Week reports that Oklahoma Attorney General-elect, Scott Pruitt, a Republican, said he will base his decision "on the merits of the case." The state has spent millions of dollars arguing the case, and it is awaiting a judge's ruling.

"General-elect Pruitt has said consistently since he began campaigning for attorney general that he will evaluate the case at the appropriate time, after taking office," said Mr Pruitt's spokeswoman, Crystal Drwenski.

Mr Pruitt's Democratic opponent for attorney general, Jim Priest, criticised Mr Pruitt during the campaign for accepting thousands of dollars from poultry industry employees. State records show that employees from several of the Arkansas poultry companies named in the suit gave at least $15,000 to Mr Pruitt's campaign.

Mr Priest said accepting such donations would create at least the appearance of a conflict of interest for Mr Pruitt.

Ms Drwenski has said the poultry industry donations have nothing to do with her boss' decision to review the lawsuit.

Oklahoma Governor-elect Mary Fallin, a Republican, has also said she would review the lawsuit, but had not made a decision about its merits, according to her spokesman.

Outgoing Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson sued the Arkansas companies in 2005, including Tyson Foods Inc. and Cargill Inc., alleging that chicken manure from their facilities polluted the one million-acre Illinois River watershed, which straddles Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Testimony wrapped up earlier this year, but the federal judge has yet to rule, according to Business Week.