Earlier this year, we sued JBS-USA over severe water pollution violations at its Greeley Beef Plant in Colorado. Now, we're getting ready to sue them again because instead of actually cleaning up their act, the company just started polluting our air.
The Greeley Beef Plant in Colorado is a beef slaughter and meat processing plant, but it also preserves animal hides. The animal hides are preserved by soaking them in saltwater and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides.
As a result, the Plant generates millions of gallons of "salt-brine wastewater" ( 5.2 million gallons per year) that often contain high concentrations of VOCs and nitrogen oxides along with animal fat, meat, and blood.
The Plant was surreptitiously dumping the vulgar wastewater directly into Colorado's waterways.
Water Pollution ⇣ Air Pollution ⇡
We sued JBS-USA under the Clean Water Act and the company responded by installing a "salt evaporator," claiming it would address the water pollution problem.
It turns out, that while the salt evaporator may mitigate water pollution (if used diligently, which it wasn't), it does not mitigate pollution entirely. When VOCs and nitrogen oxides (like the kind in the salt-brine wastewater) are released into the air, ground-level ozone pollution — commonly referred to as smog — can be created.
Rather than reducing pollution, JBS-USA has effectively traded in clean air for clean water on behalf of Colorado.
Why We're Suing
Smog is a serious threat to public health and the environment ➠ it can harm threatened animal species, destroy ecosystems, worsen asthma attacks, increase hospital visits, and even kill people.
Right now, JBS-USA is also failing to comply with mandates to monitor for smog pollution.
The notice of intent gives JBS-USA 60 days to resolve the violations. The Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch are represented in this action by counsel with the nonprofit legal advocacy organization Public Justice, as well as in-house counsel.