A northeast Colorado slaughterhouse is in the crosshairs of an environmental watchdog over allegations of improper discharges into a nearby tributary, but at this point the federal lawsuit does not allege specific harm caused by the company’s actions and seeks only to ensure compliance with its operating permit.
JBS USA, one of the country’s leading food processors, owns and operates the Lone Tree Wastewater Treatment Plant near Greeley. On May 23, the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch filed a lawsuit against the company for allegedly violating its federal discharge permit by releasing biological waste into a nearby waterway.
The treatment plant sits downstream from two slaughterhouses operated by JBS subsidiary, Swift Beef Company, receiving up to 4 million gallons of wastewater each year. After being treated, the water is released into Lone Tree Creek before making its way to the South Platte River.
The lawsuit claims JBS has been out of compliance with federal rules and regulations. In a statement released by the Center for Biological Diversity, attorney Hannah Connor said, “JBS has been knowingly violating the terms of its permit for years, exposing people and wildlife to dangerous slaughterhouse waste.”
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, requests the plant be brought into compliance with its permit and federal law.
It’s important to note that, at this point, JBS has only been accused of violating its permit. And while the lawsuit claims both people and wildlife have been exposed to danger, no claims have been made regarding specific harm caused by the discharge, such as those made in arecent fishkill case in which our firm was involved. Another unknown is the extent to which the Colorado Attorney General is monitoring the case and any changes his office, were it to get involved, could affect.
Do you own or operate a business and have questions about the way environmental laws might impact you? If so, Richards Carrington can help. Contact us at 303-962-2690 and let’s talk.