OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A lawsuit by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson against 14 poultry companies has led farm and ranch organizations to join in a fight to prevent animal manure from being classified as a hazardous substance. The groups have formed a coalition called Farmers for Clean Air and Water and they've spent $600,000 in a lobbying effort in U.S. Congress and on public relations.
They hope to persuade Congress to exempt animal manure from the federal Superfund law. That law allows governments to sue to recover the cost of cleaning up polluted land.
The lawsuit by Edmondson accuses the poultry companies of polluting the Illinois River watershed in eastern Oklahoma with chicken waste.
Environmental groups say the Superfund law is only for the worst polluters but the coalition says it could be used to sue small farmers and ranchers.
Bills to exempt manure from the Superfund law are currently pending in both the U.S. House and Senate.