Nebraska court clears way for Costco-affiliated poultry farm
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday for a new Costco-affiliated poultry farm just outside of Lincoln, despite opposition from neighbors, environmental groups, and others.
The court rejected an appeal that sought to overturn the approval of the proposed farm in southwestern Lancaster County. The court said it agreed with a district court judge’s ruling that opponents who challenged it in court lacked legal standing and the Lancaster County Board acted properly in 2018 with its 3-2 vote to issue a permit.
The poultry operation would include four large barns that would raise approximately 190,000 broiler chickens every few months for the Costco processing plant in Fremont.
The lawsuit filed by E. Jane Egan and Janis Howlett argued that the board’s decision failed to consider potential pollution and losses in property values for nearby homes. It also argued that the site’s owner, Randy Essink, didn’t have proper experience in running a poultry operation.
The court rejected the arguments, writing that Egan “did not identify any way in which her legal interests would be injured as a result of the approval of a permit for operation of a feedlot approximately 13 miles from her home.” It also found no basis for Howlett’s arguments.
Lancaster County approved new rules in 2020 that require large, enclosed feeding operations to be at least three-quarters of a mile away from any residence and even farther from schools, churches, and other public buildings.
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