Waterkeeper Alliance won't appeal ruling in alleged poultry pollution case
Waterkeeper Alliance says its evidence was compelling, but won't take up more of court's time
New York-based environmental group the Waterkeeper Alliance, who sued Perdue Farms and a Maryland Eastern Shore contract grower, said January 23 it won't appeal a federal judge's ruling in an alleged poultry pollution case.
The civil suit was filed March 1, 2010 against Perdue Farms and grower Hudson Farm based on a pile of material on the property that was assumed to be chicken manure, but was instead municipal sewage sludge from Ocean City, Md., that was used to fertilize crops. The Maryland Department of the Environment inspected the farm, confirmed the pile was biosolids, asked the Hudsons to move the pile and the Hudsons complied. Lawyers for the Waterkeeper Alliance then argued manure leaving the poultry houses from ventilation fans and foot traffic polluted a ditch along the farm which leads to the Pocomoke River.
The defendants were cleared of any wrongdoing in December 2012.
The alliance stated that while the group believes it presented compelling evidence, it won't appeal U.S. District Judge William Nickerson's ruling in a case that had broad implications for Maryland's poultry industry, according to the Associated Press.
"Given the high burden appellate courts impose for reversing a district court's findings of fact, Waterkeeper Alliance will not appeal Judge Nickerson's decision," the group said in a statement.
State Sen. Richard Colburn, R-Dorchester, said he was pleased the legal matter was over. "To have pursued an appeal of Judge Nickerson's ruling would have only further harmed a family farm already cleared of wrongdoing and would further undermine future cooperation between agriculture and responsible environmental groups," Colburn stated.