Maryland farmers vindicated in Waterkeeper lawsuit

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After years of costly legal battles, the verdict is in: Waterkeeper Alliance failed to prove that Alan and Kristin Hudson’s chicken houses polluted a nearby tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, according to a report by the Baltimore Sun.

That’s what presiding Judge William N. Nickerson concluded nearly two months after the trial began in early October. In a case that pitted agricultural producers against environmentalists, the court’s decision may finally bring some relief to the Hudsons, who run a family farm located in Maryland’s Eastern Shore region.

Nickerson’s 50-page decision was announced on Thursday and vindicated both the Hudsons and Perdue Farms. Nickerson concluded that Perdue should be "commended, not condemned” for its program to minimize and prevent pollution from their chicken farms.

The decision reverberates far beyond the courtroom. Many of the country’s agriculture producers waited with bated breath. If the Waterkeeper Alliance had been successful, it could have set a harmful precedent for many of the country’s large- and small-scale family farms.

Waterkeeper Alliance said in a statement that it disagrees with the verdict and will review the judge’s opinion to consider a possible appeal.

Read more from the Baltimore Sun here.

The Waterkeeper Alliance’s lawsuit dates back to 2009 when another environmental group, the Assateague Coastkeeper, flew a plane over the Hudson's farm and reported what appeared to be a pile of chicken manure draining into a nearby ditch. The material was later confirmed by the Maryland Department of the Environment to be treated sewage sludge from Ocean City, Md., which was used by the farm as fertilizer. Despite the corrected information, the Waterkeeper Alliance proceeded with its lawsuit. Check out the full timeline here.

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MT  |  December, 21, 2012 at 09:01 AM

Thank goodness these envirowhackocreeps were defeated this time. There was no pile of chicken dung, never was! Ha - one pile of dung in the person of Waterkeepers deliberately misidentified another pile of dung that turned out to be urban biosolids (probably Waterkeepers' cult members' own excrement!). The judge wasn't fooled. Self-styled dung experts over at Waterkeepers, including eccentric princeling Robert Kennedy Jr, are determined to continue their misrepresentation however, proving these dangerous anti-agriculture screwballs are incorrigible hatemongers. Such a waste on the part of spoiled rotten trust fund babies and their sick groupies.

pa  |  December, 21, 2012 at 01:48 PM

As a diary in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, I have followed this case as well as others that are targets of environmental / animal rights agenda. Its a relief to have the decision finally. My prayers are with the Hudsons and all families that have had to deal with these situations. I am glad they stood their ground and went through the lengthy process so that others in the future will have the benefit of precedence of the court case. It is difficult, stressful and costly to stand up to the extremists or opponents of animal ag. I see too many farmers become victims of anti-ag groups who spread hate and misinformation, sensationalizing at every turn to scare people away from modern animal production practices which provide far more benefits for our society than harm and also are a great improvement from past practices both in animal care as well as natural resource protection. We have to stand up to people defining modern animal agriculture wrongly - farmers need to do a better job exposing the bias that is coming from groups whose real intention is to turn consumers away from all animal products. There are very blurry lines and many alliances between environmental and animal rights activism. This is an intentional strategy that was outlined in the early 90's along with highjacking other environmental organizations, infiltrating the political arenas, targeting schools to increase exposure of their propaganda to students and assisting groups in creating controversy in individual rural communities. So far, their strategies are winning most often. This court decision is a setback for the agenda, but the issue will not go away. Even with the decision, the Hudsons will have a long road to peace and recovery.

kansas  |  December, 22, 2012 at 10:26 PM

Counter suit and demands for criminal investigations are the next steps. Kennedy and his eco-bully "water keepers" must be punished severely and in public. Their pursuit of litigation, when it was clear their facts were wrong, is obviously Malicious, and that is both a civil and criminal action. The Hudsons, and everyone involved, need to seek compensation and punitive damages as a matter of principle. If there is no punishment for lying and harrassing legitimate businesses and innocent individuals, they will simply pull-up their Enviro-Circus tent stakes and move on to the next weak opponent to attack again.

Spurwing Plover    
June, 30, 2014 at 05:48 PM

Cry me up a river Robert Kennedy Jr you spoiled little Kennedy brat and to your fellow Tree Huggers,Eco-Freaks and Granola Munchers GO TAKE A HIKE

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