Oklahoma's Poultry Lawsuit Underway

Tulsa, OK – Opening arguments begin in federal pollution trial

TULSA, Okla. (AP) Opening statements have begun in Oklahoma's federal pollution lawsuit against the Arkansas poultry industry.

Thursday morning, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson delivered the first part of the state's opening remarks, telling a judge that the future of the Illinois River watershed is at stake.

Edmondson told the judge the industry bears a "great responsibility" for the environmental degradation of the 1 million-acre river valley, where tens of thousands of tourists boat and fish every year.

Oklahoma sued the industry in 2005, claiming 11 poultry companies, including giants Tyson Foods and Cargill, are to blame for polluting the area with bird waste.

Dozens of attorneys and corporate representatives packed the courtroom Thursday for the first day of the long-anticipated trial, which is expected to last several weeks.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.