Judge to hear final arguments in Oklahoma poultry suit

State seeks limits on poultry litter as fertilizer

Final arguments in Oklahoma’s pollution lawsuit against poultry companies begin on February 11, Food Safety News reported. The state wants the court to permanently limit the application of poultry litter as fertilizer to no more than 65 pounds per acre and is seeking a ruling before the spring application cycle.

Attorneys for the poultry industry say that U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frizzell should impose no limits because Oklahoma has not shown a "substantial threat to human health, drinking water, recreational use, or wildlife" posed by poultry litter. The attorneys represent Cal-Maine Foods Inc., Cargill Inc., Cargill Turkey Production L.L.C., Cobb-Vantress Inc., George's Farms Inc., Peterson Farms Inc., Simmons Foods Inc., Tyson Chicken Inc. and Tyson Poultry Inc.

Oklahoma contends that runoff from fields fertilized with poultry litter have raised phosphorous levels in the Illinois River watershed and led to dropping oxygen levels in Lake Tenkiller.

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