Rubashkin Sued Over Groundwater Pollution

And it’s not even built yet:

A Winneshiek County man is claiming a chicken confinement facility on neighboring property is contaminating the groundwater.

Mike Meyer alleges construction by Cottonballs Poultry Barns created a sinkhole near a farm he owns, according to a lawsuit filed in district court. Pollution from the livestock operation in Frankville Township is now migrating through groundwater into a spring Meyer uses for drinking water, according to the petition.…

Cottonballs is owned by Sholom Rubashkin, vice president of Agriprocessors in Postville, which processes the chickens. A spokesman Charlie Arnot of CMA Consulting in Kansas City declined comment because Agriprocessors has not yet seen a copy of the lawsuit.

“Agriprocessors is committed to operating its facilities with environmental integrity and looks forward to resolving the issue as quickly as possible,” he said.

Cottonballs originally planned a four-building facility with each barn housing 49,999 birds. But the Iowa Department of Natural Resources denied the construction permit because the project did not earn enough points on the state’s master matrix, which is used to evaluate confinement projects for their impact on the environment and community.

Planners then scaled back to two buildings housing 99,998 chickens, an operation small enough to not require evaluation under the matrix system…

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