States Squabble Over Poultry Pollution

ARKANSAS - Arkansas and Oklahoma, which have been at odds for years over poultry-farm pollution flowing into the rivers they share, are squabbling again after Oklahoma researchers secretly slipped across the state line and set up water-quality monitors in Arkansas.

County work crews in northwestern Arkansas recently discovered the water monitors and traced them to Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who is gathering information for a lawsuit against Arkansas farms over runoff.

"The political gamesmanship of the Oklahoma attorney general is getting more pungent than any perceived pollution he thinks is coming from Arkansas," Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee complained. "Rather than operating in good faith to solve problems, he had rather continue disparaging Arkansas farmers and communities in order to keep his name in the paper."

Oklahoma has long complained that phosphorus-rich chicken waste, often used as fertilizer, runs off Arkansas farms and into Oklahoma streams.

Charlie Price, a spokesman for Edmondson, blamed the furor over the monitors on an environmental consulting firm hired by the Oklahoma attorney general. Price said the attorney general did not intend for the devices to be placed along Arkansas waterways without notifying local Arkansas authorities.

"We were shocked to learn (the monitoring) has been going on without the knowledge of anybody in our state," said Janet Wilkerson, a spokeswoman for five poultry companies, including Tyson Foods, the world's largest poultry producer.

calendar icon 26 May 2005
clock icon 1 minute read
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