Oklahoma has appealed the decision of a federal judge not to allow the Cherokee Nation to join its pollution lawsuit against poultry producers, according to Tulsa World.
In a Dec. 30 filing with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the state contended that U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell favored the Cherokee Nation’s "theoretical right to bring its own lawsuit” over its practical desire to be represented by the state of Oklahoma. The state said the Cherokees lack the financial resources to bring a suit of their own.
Oklahoma is currently involved in a civil trial against 11 poultry producers for alleged pollution of the Illinois River watershed.
The state argued Frizell’s ruling took away "the opportunity for an efficient and complete resolution of all of the issues and for all interested parties in a single trial.”
The participation of the Cherokee Nation in the lawsuit could have financial consequences for Oklahoma. The state originally sought $600M in monetary damages, but Judge Frizzell ruled before the trial began that no damages could be awarded because the Cherokee Nation, which governs part of the Illinois River watershed area, was not originally included as a party to the suit. According to Tulsa World, he then denied a request that the Cherokee Nation be allowed to join the suit on grounds that it had waited too long to intervene.