The nation’s largest chicken producer has pleaded guilty in federal court in Springfield to two criminal charges of violating the Clean Water Act, stemming from discharges at its slaughter and processing facility in southwest Missouri’s Monett.
Federal prosecutors say 108,000 fish were killed in the Clear Creek.
Prosecutors say Tyson will have to pay a $2 million dollar criminal fine and serve two years probation, and must pay $500,000 to maintain and restore waters in the Monett area.
Federal prosecutors note these are criminal charges against the company, not against any individual person.
“Tyson’s admitted criminal conduct caused significant environmental damage, including a large-scale fish kill,” Western District of Missouri Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Larson said in written statement. “Today’s plea agreement not only holds Tyson accountable for its actions in Missouri, but requires the company to take steps to insure compliance with the Clean Water Act at its poultry facilities throughout the United States.”
Arkansas-based Tyson has issued a statement on its website, taking full responsibility for the 2014 Monett incident.
Tyson’s statement reads, in part: “An unfortunate mistake was made by our company in May 2014 that resulted in the accidental release of an animal feed ingredient into the city of Monett’s wastewater treatment system. The release disrupted the treatment system and resulted in a fish kill in a nearby stream. We deeply regret the mistake that was made and have taken corrective action to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We’re committed to doing better in all areas of our business, especially when it comes to protecting the environment.”