Poultry industry: Oklahoma AG overreacted to ads

Friday, January 7th 2005, 12:00 pm
By: News On 6

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Arkansas' poultry farmers and processors say Oklahoma's attorney general overreacted to a television commercial when he canceled water quality negotiations Thursday.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson canceled talks planned for next week because of an industry-friendly television commerical by the Farm Bureau. Edmondson said the commercial was -- quote -- ``tainting the potential jury pool'' for a trail, which Edmondson has threatened if the industry doesn't cooperate with Oklahoma's efforts to protect rivers and streams traveling from Arkansas into Oklahoma.

Poultry industry spokeswoman Janet Wilkerson said the commercial simply shows an Oklahoma farmer and Farm Bureau member following the law and complaining about threats of litigation.

Oklahoma says chicken litter from poultry farms is running off and contaminating the Illinois River and its tributaries. The state has already achieved concessions from northwest Arkansas cities in how they handle sewage, but Oklahoma officials believe a greater portion of pollutants like phosphorus come from the poultry farms.

Last month, Edmondson said he saw progress during talks in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Those talks were supposed to resume next week.