Kennedy praises Oklahoma poultry lawsuit

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Drew Edmondson

OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline)-A lawsuit filed by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson against large-scale poultry producers has drawn praise from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a leading environmental lawyer.

Speaking in Oklahoma City on Friday, Kennedy, the son of slain U.S. attorney general and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, said the poultry companies are "making themselves billionaires by poisoning the rest of us."

Kennedy, 54, is the chairman of the Waterkeeper Alliance, which seeks to protect rivers from pollution. He also serves on the legal staff of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

He spoke to an audience at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, The Oklahoman reported Saturday.

With Edmondson in attendance, Kennedy said factory farms use their lobbies to gain more than their fair share in influence in state capitols across the nation.

He said the large-scale farms injure Americans by "dumping their crap into the Illinois River and the other rivers of the state."

Edmondson, a Democrat, has said that pollution from poultry farms in an issue of national importance.

He has called for a "national solution" to protect the nation's waterways, especially in Georgia, the Carolinas and the Delmarva Peninsula states of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

In June 2005, he filed a lawsuit in federal court against several poultry companies to stop the alleged pollution their operations have caused in the Illinois River watershed and Lake Tenkiller.

The lawsuit alleges the poultry companies are responsible for the runoff of polluted water from tons of poultry waste that has flowed into state waterways as the result of improper storage.

Defendants in the lawsuit are: Tyson Foods Inc., Tyson Poultry Inc., Tyson Chicken Inc., Cobb-Vantress Inc., Cal-Maine Foods Inc., Cargill Inc., Cargill Turkey Production LLC., George's Inc., George's Farms Inc., Peterson Farms, Simmons Foods Inc., Cal-Maine Farms Inc. and Willow Brook Foods Inc.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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