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Oklahoma chicken litter lawsuit will go into federal remediation with clean-up plan postponed again

Oklahoma-Texas Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
The Illinois River

A decades-long court battle between Oklahoma and poultry corporations in Northwest Arkansas has been extended once again.

Then-Attorney General Drew Edmondson filed the lawsuit against poultry producers in Arkansas in 2005, saying chicken waste was polluting the Illinois River Watershed in Oklahoma.

After 18 years,a federal judge ruled in Oklahoma’s favor this February. He ordered the involved parties to develop a plan to restore the watershed and limit future pollution. The clean-up plan was originally due in March, but that deadline was extended to June 16.

Now, Kelly Bostian reports for the Oklahoma Ecology Project that the deadline has been extended once again, so stakeholders can undergo federal mediation.

At the request of Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond, the involved parties will go through mediation with a retired judge and submit an update two weeks after that concludes.

Drummond told Bostian that negotiations have gone back and forth, but he hopes the mediation will help the poultry corporations and the water advocates find common ground.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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