September 1, 2010
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster today announced a settlement with Smithfield Foods and Premium Standard Farms (PSF), owners of 11 Class 1-A confined animal feeding operations in Northwest Missouri that have been the subject of an ongoing dispute with the state of Missouri since 1999.
"It is my hope that today's settlement will accomplish the goals set forth by the state of Missouri to protect clean water and air in Northwest Missouri," Koster said. "The agreement provides a firm schedule under which modern technology will be installed in approximately 365 hog barns operated by the company. In addition, $1 million in voluntary payments by the company will be distributed to local county school funds and road districts."
The dispute with PSF dates back to early 1999, when then-Attorney General Jay Nixon filed a lawsuit against the company alleging violations of various federal and state environmental laws involving wastewater spills and discharges. That lawsuit was settled under a consent judgment in August 1999 that required a variety of actions by PSF. In 2002, Attorney General Nixon filed a second lawsuit alleging additional violations of the Missouri Clean Water law. A second consent judgment requiring additional actions by PSF was entered in February 2004, with an August 1, 2010 completion deadline.
While most of the requirements of the first and second consent judgments were fulfilled by the company during the requisite period, PSF failed to install next generation barn odor control technology prior to the August 1, 2010, deadline set forth by the second consent judgment.
In November 2009, an expert panel approved a combination of modern technology involving mechanical scrapers and biodigesters for the treatment of hog waste. In April 2010, the expert panel approved PSF's barn scraper technology method for reducing odor from hog barns.
Today's agreement requires that PSF install approved scraper systems in:
• 48 barns by December 31, 2010;
• At least a total of 136 barns by July 31, 2011;
• At least a total of 230 barns by December 31, 2011; and
• All remaining barns requiring odor control -- approximately 365 in all -- by July 31, 2012.
If PSF fails to satisfy these deadlines, then the agreement imposes the following penalties:
• $2,000 per day, per barn set, for the first 30 days of noncompliance;
• $4,000 per day, per barn set, for the next 30 days of noncompliance; and
• $6,000 per day, per barn set, for 60 days or beyond of noncompliance.
The agreement also includes $1 million in voluntary payments by the company. PSF will pay $100,000 each to the local county school funds for the counties of Gentry, Daviess, Mercer, Sullivan and Putnam. PSF will pay a total of $500,000 to the county road funds for the following amounts: Daviess ($90,000), Gentry ($90,000), Grundy ($50,000), Mercer ($90,000), Putnam ($90,000) and Sullivan ($90,000).
"The primary goal of the Attorney General's office is to ensure responsible stewardship of Missouri's environment," Koster said. "If PSF complies with the provisions of today's agreement, then our goal will have been furthered while still protecting Missouri jobs in a difficult economy."