Archive for Thursday, September 28, 2017

Letter to the editor: Response to Tyson

September 28, 2017

To the editor:

(Dear Tyson,)

On behalf of the citizens from Tonganoxie and surrounding areas who have flocked together by the thousands to oppose your proposed $320 million poultry processing plant, I’d personally like to apologize if we have ruffled any feathers.

It’s just that we don’t appreciate back-door politics and non-disclosure agreements. They’ll drop our property values, irreversibly pollute our waterways and air, impact the future of our children and substantially increase our taxes, to your benefit.

We don’t believe your environmental/sustainability efforts in your letter. One only has to Google “Tyson Chicken environmental issues” to begin to unravel what has been a legacy of revolting, deceptive and unconscionable practices, including repeated fines for repeated offenses (e.g., 20 felony violations of the Clean Water Act in 2003, $3.96 million for violations of the Clean Air Act in KS, MO, NE and IA).

We believe in treating animals humanely and are repulsed by numerous articles detailing horrific accounts of animal abuse, of which any company should long ago have imposed stricter controls.

We appreciate the offer of 1,600 jobs, but when we read in Forbes Magazine, the Washington Post, etc., that poultry workers have complained of being denied bathroom breaks and, thereby, have been forced to urinate upon themselves or wear diapers — or that these workers can end up crippled for life because of repetitive motions, we have decided to pass on your generous offer.

You can throw all the promises of good corporate citizenship you want at us via your Open Letter, but we’ve uncovered too many negatives and wrongdoings to be persuaded. Your track record has galvanized Tonganoxie against you and you are crying “fowl.” We hope you select another location.

Until we know you’re gone for sure, however, we’ll continue to attend city and county meetings to ensure full transparency, continue the grassroots effort led by Citizens Against Project Sunset and demand that our politicians who have not responded to our collective voice hear us and do the right thing.

Julie H. Downes



Andy Pierson 2 years, 8 months ago

Dear Tyson, fellow Kansans and fellow citizens of the USA, Not all the citizens of Tonganoxie are supportive of this group and against the building of the plant. Some still need actual facts about how you conduct business. I'm one of those citizens. From this anti-Tyson group I found that you are the #2 water polluter in the nation. I couldn't find an EPA top 10 list. I went to the EPA website to search for the data. Not easy. I called the EPA local office Region 7, and asked for the top 10 list of worst water polluters. I was told the EPA has no such list and one existed it would not be public. I was able to find a list at the Political Economy Research Institute University of Massachusetts Amherst for 2014, published in 2016. Guess what? Tyson is #55! Look who ranks above you, GM (we have a plant here nobody protests), Phillips 66 (don't they sponsor the Big 12 and nobody protests?), most of the other petroleum producers are above you (no protests), Berkshire Hathaway (owns Nebraska Furniture Mart and no protests), Harley Davidson (Erin Brockovich give her ex a $20,000 custom HD as part of a settlement? Environmental consciousness?) and Deere (and everyone loves their green mowers, tractors and combines. ironic, green) they rank above you on this list. It is troublesome to me that we may not have the opportunity to get 1600 direct jobs in the area, and the unknown number of jobs that come into the area to support the operation, and that 5,000 or 6,000 people on Social Media in a matter of a few days became experts on environment, state, county and local elected officials, intimidation, rumor mongering, bribes, under table deals, and payoffs. It bothers me that there have been threats to people, either physical violence or to their elected positions or taking business elsewhere. Walls have been built between those against Tyson and those that are for it or are neutral. I'm sad because so many people jumped to the conclusion that all elected officials involved in this was dirty, up to something, didn't have the best interests of the citizenry in mind and stood to personally gain and that Tyson was going to move here with the intent to destroy the water, enslave farmers, and bus in immigrants. It seems this project has brought out the worst in people around here. Some are saying how great it is that the tiny town stood up to the giant company. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the worst possible pollution, the human pollution of suspicion, rumors, and lies about "friends", neighbors and businesses. This pollution will stay with us long past the time when you make the decision on where to ultimately locate. Do I know what "the right thing" is in relation to this project? No. I do know a lot of what has and is going on around this is not right. Thank you for considering our community. There are many fine people here, and many that, in my opinion, are not so fine as this ordeal has shown.

Andy Pierson Tonganoxie


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