Triumph clears key hurdle for hog plant

US - Triumph Foods will not need a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a hog processing plant in East Moline, provided it sticks to plans for the project already reviewed by the agency, the corps said in a letter to the company.
calendar icon 21 February 2007
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While the company will still have to get local and state permits to build the plant, the corps’ decision was the final major step to be overcome before Triumph can start developing detailed plans and a schedule for construction of the $135 million facility, said Patt Lilly, chief administrative officer for the St. Joseph, Mo., based company.

“It allows us to begin making plans,” Lilly said. “We have not made a schedule yet and no construction date has been set, but it certainly allows us to start to take steps to acquire the property.”

In January, East Moline aldermen voted unanimously to approve the transfer of the site to Triumph whenever it is ready to take possession. Triumph’s plans call for building a $135 million plant that will employ 1,000 workers and process 15,000 hogs a day.

The letter, dated Feb. 15, says the corps has jurisdiction over two of four wetland areas on the 116-acre site off Barstow Road but that plans for the plant, parking and other facilities submitted by Triumph will not disturb them.

“Your site plan layout indicates no discharges or dredged or fill material will occur in corps regulated wetlands,” John Betker, a project manager for the agency, wrote to Triumph. “Therefore Department of Army ... authorization will not be required for your project as currently designed.”

The decision drew immediate criticism from a representative of Quad-Cities Citizens Against Triumph, or Q-CAT, a group that has opposed plans for the plant. Art Norris said he has been in contact with environmental groups, including the National Wildlife Federation and the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center, to see whether any are interested in representing his group in challenging the decision.

“We didn’t want it to come to that, but if the Army Corps doesn’t take jurisdiction, what protection do the wetlands have,” Norris said Tuesday.

Source: Quad-City Times

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