JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Three years ago, NELC attorneys won a major victory in a Clean Water Act lawsuit against one of the world’s largest chicken producers, Pilgrim’s Pride. The lawsuit involved pollutant discharges to the Suwannee River, a waterway of critical ecological and economic importance to Florida.
The Suwannee is made up of 185 freshwater springs that provide an invaluable water source for Florida wildlife, residents, tourists, and agricultural producers. Poor pollution management practices (such as those targeted in the Pilgrim’s Pride lawsuit) directly contaminate the waterway, but nutrient overload from agricultural runoff is also a major threat to the river. For this reason, our settlement of the lawsuit not only required pollution reduction from Pilgrim’s Pride, but also allocated $1.3 million of the $1.43 million penalty paid by the company to the creation of a Sustainable Farming Fund to promote sustainable farming and enhanced conservation of the Suwannee River.
NELC recently received the 2018-2021 Final Report of the Sustainable Farming Fund, and the encouraging results of the projects made possible by that Fund are summarized on page 3.