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[Archived] Soil Tests Delayed In Illinois River Watershed

| Environment | October 27, 2007

District Court Judge Robert Soil Tests Delayed In Illinois River Watershed

By The Morning News

Thursday, October 27, 2005

JAY, Okla. -- Poultry companies and growers fired a one-two punch at state officials who want to test soils on four farms in Delaware County, Okla.

District Court Judge Robert G. Haney said civil warrants obtained by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to perform the tests will not be executed until separates suits by the poultry companies and the farmers are resolved.

Haney said attorneys for the state said Wednesday that the lawsuits would have to be filed in Oklahoma County. Haney asked for the attorneys to file briefs on the issue by Nov. 7.

The department obtained warrants to test the soil on the four farms Oct. 18, but the farmers refused to allow them on their farms.

Farmers and poultry companies said they were concerned about the spread of poultry diseases from one farm to the next. They also said they the tests are not in line with the state's own laws regarding property soil testing for nutrient management plans.

The farmers have filed a suit asking for a declaratory judgment, temporary restraining order and permanent injunction against performing the tests.

The poultry companies also filed a motion to quash, or do away with, the warrants.

Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are beneficial to plant growth but can cause rampant algae growth if too much enters lakes and streams.

Algae blooms can degrade water quality. Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson requested the soil tests to gather evidence for a lawsuit he has filed accusing the poultry companies of polluting the scenic rivers in Eastern Oklahoma.