The worst meat processing plants are dumping as much nitrogen pollution as small cities and not facing any consequences. The third largest offender? Pilgrim's Pride East Texas poultry processing plant in Mount Pleasant.
The Environmental Integrity Project studied Environmental Protection Agency records for 98 of the country’s large meat-processing plants and found that 74 of them exceeded permit limits for dumping pollutants such as nitrogen and fecal bacteria into waterways. Last year, Environment Florida, part of our national network, won a settlement against Pilgrim’s Pride for similar violations at their Florida plant.
“Texans love our barbecue—but nobody ordered a side of water pollution along with our meat,” said Environment Texas Clean Water Advocate Brian Zabcik. “The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality needs to issue stronger water pollution control permits for the slaughterhouses in East Texas and elsewhere—and then enforce them, so they stop contaminating our waterways.”
The report ranks the tested plants, and offers policy recommendations to hold polluters accountable and reduce the amount of waste being dumped in waterways.
Photo: Bo Pilgrim statue at Pilgrim's Pride distribution center in Pittsburg, Texas. Credit: John Bonzo via Wikimedia Commons (CC by 3.0)