Arkansas Attorney General Takes Water Quality Battle to U.S. Supreme Court

By Francis-Smith, Janice | THE JOURNAL RECORD, November 4, 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Arkansas Attorney General Takes Water Quality Battle to U.S. Supreme Court


Francis-Smith, Janice, THE JOURNAL RECORD


The poultry industry is running the Arkansas state government, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Thursday, after Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe asked the U.S. Supreme Court for permission to sue the Sooner State.

Edmondson said Beebe's filing is just the latest in a string of assaults he has faced from the poultry industry since June, when Edmondson filed a lawsuit against eight Arkansas poultry companies - including the world's largest, Tyson Foods Inc. - claiming the companies are discharging chicken litter into the Illinois River in excess of what Oklahoma's water quality standards and federal environmental law allow.

Beebe accused Oklahoma of trying to impose its environmental laws on Arkansas, to the detriment of one of Arkansas's biggest economic drivers - the state's $2 billion poultry industry.

Oklahoma seeks to impose its own laws and regulations on economic activity and citizens located within Arkansas' borders, reads Beebe's filing. Agriculture is a primary stimulus of economic growth in Arkansas, making up nearly 11 percent of its gross state product. The poultry industry alone contributes greatly to this output.

In 2001, the poultry industry provided more than 50,000 jobs in Arkansas, paid $1.21 billion in wages, and exerted a $1.68 billion impact on Arkansas' economy, according to the filing.

By the plain language of its complaint, Oklahoma seeks to significantly alter agricultural practices throughout the Illinois River Watershed region, including those practices conducted within the borders of Arkansas, reads the filing. As demonstrated by its action in the federal district court, Oklahoma aims directly to regulate lawful commercial activity within Arkansas's borders, as a solution to its alleged pollution problems.

Edmondson said he was not surprised by Beebe's filing.

We have known for years that no bit of environmental legislation gets passed in Arkansas unless Tyson and their buddies sign off on it, said Edmondson. We have known for years that big poultry runs government in the state of Arkansas, but they don't run government in the state of Oklahoma, and they don't run the federal courts.

Oklahoma has 60 days in which to respond, and Edmondson said his office intends to do so. The U.S. Supreme Court has a number of options. The court could chose to enjoin Oklahoma's lawsuits, ending Edmondson's legal battle with the poultry companies. The court could allow the case to proceed, allowing Edmondson to fight for enforcement of both federal and Oklahoma environmental standards. Or, the court could allow the case to proceed addressing the federal standards only.

We anticipate the U.S. Supreme Court will deal with this issue and allow the litigation to proceed, and we expect to prevail on that litigation when the time comes, said Edmondson.

In his filing, Beebe said the dispute between the states should be handled through the Arkansas River Basin Compact, which has been in place since 1970 to address water quality issues for the rivers shared by Oklahoma and Arkansas.

It's my belief that if Mike Beebe were not running for governor, he wouldn't have done this, said Edmondson.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Arkansas Attorney General Takes Water Quality Battle to U.S. Supreme Court
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?