Durbin Statement On JBS Pork-Processing Plant Pollution In Beardstown

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement regarding a Chicago Tribune story that reported a Beardstown, Illinois pork-processing plant, owned by JBS, discharged more nitrogen from animal waste into Illinois waterways than any other slaughterhouse in the country last year: 

The details outlined in the Chicago Tribune story aren’t the first reports we’ve read on the reckless polluting occurring from this particular plant.  Recent reports have stated that the JBS-owned pork-processing plant released more than 1,800 pounds of nitrogen a day, on average, into a tributary to the Illinois River.  That is equivalent to the amount of pollution produced from the raw sewage of a city of 79,000 people.  This egregious example is serious cause for alarm.  We must require the facility in Beardstown to submit discharge reports to ensure it is in compliance with federal law, and require it to use the best available technology so it can limit harmful impacts to surrounding communities.  I’ll also be asking the U.S. EPA to step up its monitoring of the Beardstown plant – and any others that have shown evidence of high pollution levels and negligence towards the environment – and to enforce strong penalties for non-compliance. 

Tougher national standards on water pollution from meat-processing are long overdue and are necessary to protect the health of our waterways.  Illinois waterways are a vital life line to communities big and small, and we can't let slaughterhouses get away with dirtying the rivers, lakes, and streams we use for recreation and drinking water.

On Friday, the Chicago Tribune published a story that cited a report from the Environmental Integrity Project that found a JBS-owned pork-processing plant in Beardstown, Illinois single handedly discharged more nitrogen from animal waste into waterways than any other slaughterhouse in the country.  The report, which assessed water pollution by 98 large meat-processing facilities across the Unites States, said the Beardstown plant released nearly 1,850 pounds of nitrogen on average each day into a tributary of the Illinois River. 

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