Delay in Oklahoma Chicken Case Puzzles Ex-AG

Delay in Oklahoma Chicken Case Puzzles Ex-AG

9/12/2011

 

Drew Edmondson, the former Attorney General of Oklahoma, said he does not understand why it is taking so long for the judge to rule on the lawsuit filed by the state against the poultry industry.

In 2005, the former AG sued a total of 13 companies, the most notable being Tyson Foods.

Edmondson, who decided not to seek re-election anymore in 2010, had claimed that chicken waste from the facilities owned by the companies polluted an area, estimated to be around one million acre, along the Illinois River.

The companies disputed the claims, arguing that they are not responsible for the pollution in the watershed. Rather, they say it should be blamed on a number of wastewater treatment plants located in the area.

The case wrapped up during the early 2010. However, U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell still has to decide on the matter.

In an interview, Edmondson said, “I did not anticipate that it would be this long waiting on a ruling. I don’t know what would justify this kind of a delay and certainly have made no inquiry.”

The former AG, who gave up his post to unsuccessfully run for governor, said that he is eager for the judge to render a decision so that the case can proceed.

Gary Mickelson, a Tyson Foods spokesman, released a statement Monday saying that the company does not believe Frizzell has unfairly delayed making a ruling.

According to Mickelson, Judge Frizzel “…had the arduous task of reviewing the exhibits and testimony from a trial that spanned five months. That process takes time and should be the product of careful reflection by the court, rather than meeting anyone’s arbitrary expectation of timeliness.”

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com