Motion challenges Murphy-Brown farms

by Erica Shaffer
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CHAPEL HILL, NC – The Southern Environmental Law Center filed a motion in federal court seeking to force Murphy-Brown, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, to clean up groundwater at 11 of the company’s hog farms in North Carolina. The SELC filed the motion on behalf of Waterkeeper Alliance and Sound Rivers Inc.

The groups contend that Murphy-Brown, which was renamed Smithfield Hog Production Division, has failed to comply with a 2006 agreement the company reached with the conservation groups. The consent decree resolved four cases brought by conservation groups regarding violations of the federal Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The agreement calls for the company to allow a consultant to take samples of groundwater around the facilities; but the groups claim that the company is refusing to allow the consultant to take the samples. Court documents state that the company submitted its own data regarding groundwater at the facilities, but the consultant determined the information was insufficient.

The SELC said the consultant will be able to proceed with determining corrective actions once the groundwater samples are obtained.
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