A group of poultry producers, including the world’s largest, asked a federal judge to throw out his ruling that they contaminated an Oklahoma watershed.
Arkansas-based Tyson Foods, Minnesota-based Cargill Inc. and the others say in a motion filed Thursday that evidence in the case is now more than 13 years old.
«This case is constitutionally moot because the Court can no longer grant any effective relief,» the companies argued in a filing before U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell in Tulsa.
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The presentation says Oklahoma conservation officials have noticed a steady decline in pollution. He credited improvements in wastewater treatment plants, state laws requiring poultry waste management plans and fewer poultry farms as a result of the growth of metropolitan areas in northwest Arkansas. .
A spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond did not immediately respond to a Saturday phone call seeking comment.
The attorney general’s office told the Tulsa World that it is seeking «a resolution of this matter that is in the best interest of Oklahoma.»
Frizzell ruled in January that the companies were responsible for polluting the Illinois River watershed by disposing of chicken droppings or manure that leaked into the river.
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The trial of the lawsuit filed in 2005 by the state of Oklahoma ended in 2013 without a ruling for 10 years. In January, Frizzell issued his decision without addressing the reason for the decade-long delay.
«The Court’s findings and conclusions are based on a record compiled between 2005 and 2009,» the poultry companies’ motion states. «When this Court issued its findings and conclusions… much of the record dated back to the 1990s and early 2000s.»
Frizzell had ordered the poultry companies and the State to reach an agreement on how to remedy the effects of the contamination.
Lawyers for the companies and the state attorney general said in filings Thursday that the mediation had failed.
The other defendants named in the lawsuit 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.