Clearwater council to draft resolution against Tyson plant

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Clearwater city commissioners will draft a resolution prohibiting construction of a Tyson plant within city limits.

The move is largely symbolic, admits Mayor Burt Ussery, but believed it was necessary after examining the potential impact of the plant near Clearwater.

"Our resolution from the City of Clearwater has absolutely zero impact on the county. We have no authority on them," he said after a council meeting Tuesday night. 

He said that what it does do, if approved, is send a clear message to county commissioners that constituents don't want the plant in the area.

"We are constituents, we are citizens, we have homes, we value our clean air and water. So they need to hear us," said Ronda Ragland Smith, a Clearwater resident. She was one of more than 100 people who attended the city council meeting. There were so many people, an overflow crowd formed outside of City Hall.

"This is a bad, bad fit for Sedgwick County," she said.

Several residents spoke publicly about their concerns and at no time did someone come forward to defend a potential chicken plant.

"I feel like we don't fully understand their motives. I'm trying to research that, I've looked at campaign contributions," said Ashley Gerlach, a Clearwater resident.

She said she lost faith in the idea after she researched and found multiple fines totaling millions for OSHA violations, along with environmental concerns and questions about any actual economic growth the move would bring.

"It's significant, it's saying they don't care about their employees," Gerlach said.

KAKE News contacted a Tyson spokesperson for response to the concerns and are waiting for a response. This article will be updated once that information has been received.

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