Fouled nest

Chicken king Bo Pilgrim meets his critics on his home turf

It will take months of arguing over matters such as hydrology and microorganisms. Both sides will submit written arguments, examine each other's scientific data and depose each other's experts.

Ultimately, Ehret must decide if the 2.5 million gallons of wastewater from a new Pilgrim plant would run afoul of environmental limits. His recommendation will be forwarded to the TNRCC, which will make a final decision on the permit.

It could well be next year before a final decision is reached. If the permit is denied, Pilgrim's Pride will again be looking for another site for its plant. But Bo Pilgrim says he's optimistic. "I don't have to look any farther right now," he says.

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