JBS Targeted in Lawsuit Over Pollution of South Platte River

Just months after a meat processing company headquartered in Colorado issued a recall of more than 10 million lbs. of beef to contain a salmonella outbreak, public interest groups announced they intend to take legal action against JBS USA for violating provisions of the Clean Water Act.



JBS is an international, Brazilian based firm that owns and operates a wastewater treatment facility in Greeley, where petitioners suggest the amount of waste from slaughterhouses it also owns regularly exceed what’s allowably permitted to flow into tributaries of the South Platte River, sections of which provide habitat to two endangered species.

Advocacy group Food and Water Watch teamed up with the Center for Biological Diversity to pursue the matter legally, hiring Colorado attorney Neil Levine from the public interest law firm Public Justice to represent their interests in the case. JBS will have a 60 day window to respond before the next step can be taken, Levine told KGNU.

“The Clean Water Act, which is the law that governs here, has its own penalty provision: it’s $50,000 per violation, per day.”  ~Neil Levine, Public Justice attorney.

Levine said JBS inherited the treatment plant as part of acquiring Swift Beef in 2007, adding that records such as compliance reports haven’t been filed on time since 2014.

The Environmental Integrity Project has studied the issue of water pollution due to slaughterhouses and found that nationwide, roughly 75% of the industry is in the habit of disbursing more waste into the country’s waterways than they’re permitted to.