GADSDEN, ALA. – On Dec. 17, the Gadsden Airport Authority (GAA) voted unanimously to reject a proposed Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. rendering plant at the Northeast Alabama Regional Airport.

“The proposals from Pilgrim’s Pride and the Etowah Community group were both rejected in a unanimous vote of the GAA,” said Jim Williams, the attorney for the GAA. “This vote rejected both the sale or lease of airport property to either entity.”

After the vote, Williams also called on plaintiffs who filed lawsuits and the plaintiffs’ lawyers to immediately dismiss all pending lawsuits filed against the GAA regarding the Pilgrim’s Pride proposal.

Following the opposition to the proposed poultry facility, US Representative Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) released a statement sharing his support for the GAA’s opposition. 

“I commend the Gadsden Airport Authority for this vote,” Aderholt said. “The people of Gadsden and Etowah County had made it clear they did not feel this was the right fit for this particular piece of property. Also, in the conversations that I facilitated between the Federal Aviation Administration and those for the project and those against, it was abundantly clear the FAA is not likely now, or in the future, to approve a proposal like this. There is just too much potential for dangerous impact on aviation.”

Aderholt added: “I look forward to helping in any way I can from the federal level to bring other types of development to the airport and also in helping Pilgrims find a more suitable location for their rendering plant.”

Cameron Bruett, director of corporate affairs for Pilgrim’s Pride, responded to MEAT+POULTRY’s regarding the GAA vote.

“We are aware of recent action by the Gadsden Airport Authority regarding proposed development on airport land and are currently evaluating potential next steps,” Bruett said.