Ark. Seeks to Intervene in Okla. Poultry Lawsuit

May 3, 2006

Ark. Attorney General Mike has asked an Oklahoma court to allow his office to represent the people and sovereign interests of the State of Arkansas in the lawsuit filed by Oklahoma against Arkansas poultry companies.

If allowed to intervene, Beebe will ask the court to dismiss those claims, which would impact lawful farming practices in Arkansas.

“This lawsuit threatens to slow or stop the progress of environmental improvements already agreed to by both states,” Beebe said. “Oklahoma has gone to court to demand money and to impose its laws on Arkansas instead of working together to find common ground for protecting environments and livelihoods in both states.”

In 1970, Arkansas and Oklahoma signed the Arkansas River Basin Compact, agreeing to address environmental concerns through a federally approved Compact Commission with representation from both states. Oklahoma now seeks to circumvent the Compact and instead force its laws on Arkansans.

In 2003, the two states agreed to work together over the next decade to substantially reduce phosphorus levels in the Illinois River. Oklahoma’s lawsuit now changes the focus from an environmental-improvement issue to a financial issue.

“We are filing on behalf of the State of Arkansas and the individual farmers who have no voice in this litigious attack on their farms,” Beebe said. “The poultry companies have their own attorneys and can pursue whatever legal action they wish. Our goal is to get this matter out of court and back to the Compact Commission, where dialogue between the states has addressed this issue for more than 35 years.”

Source: Arkansas Attorney General’s Office

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