Judge: Okla. can't seek damages in poultry suit
By JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS – 14 hours ago
TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma can't pursue monetary damages in its environmental lawsuit against a dozen Arkansas poultry companies because it didn't name the Cherokee Nation as a plaintiff, a federal judge ruled Wednesday in a major blow to the state.
Oklahoma had hoped to collect more than $611 million from companies it claims polluted the Illinois River watershed with bird waste.
But the 1-million-acre river valley lies in an area set aside by the federal government for the Cherokee Nation, and Oklahoma doesn't have the authority to seek damages on the nation's behalf, U.S. District Court Judge Gregory K. Frizzell ruled.
He said the state could continue to pursue the lawsuit to stop poultry companies from disposing of what Oklahoma claims are excessive amounts of chicken waste on farmland in the watershed.
Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who filed the lawsuit in 2005, said it was never about the money but protecting the watershed from pollution.
"If we prevail ... at trial, we accomplish our goal of stopping these companies' reckless waste dumping practices," he said. Read More
Drew Edmondson keeps running into roadblocks in his quest to eliminate chicken production in Arkansas. Some speculated that his original intent was to make a name for himself so he could run for Governor anyhow. While he has made a name for himself, it’s not one that has necessarily been good. He seemed willing to put over 55,000 farmers out of business for his own personal gain. Not exactly the type of person you would want running a state. The fact of the matter is that these chicken houses follow the strict guidelines and regulations that go along with operating a chicken house. These measures are meant to protect the environment and the farmers themselves. Edmondson was simply looking for some low hanging fruit to munch down.