Kansas residents still concerned over poultry plant issue

TONGANOXIE, Kan. (AP) Update: July 1

A city in eastern Kansas is still seeing political changes after plans for a massive chicken processing plant caused uproar last year.

KCUR-FM reports that the $300 million Tyson project planned for the outskirts of Tonganoxie was canceled after residents protested the pollution and the strains on local infrastructure they expected the facility would bring.

Republican Rep. Jim Karleskint of Tonganoxie drafted a bill that would have given locals more say about proposed poultry operation. He says residents are still anxious about the issue.

Democrat Stuart Sweeney says Tyson is one of the reasons he decided to run for the Statehouse. Stuart is challenging Republican Rep. Willie Dove.

Dove says he initially didn't take a stance on the project because he wanted more information. He ultimately opposed it.
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Tyson Foods says its plans to build a $320 million chicken-processing plant near Tonganoxie are "on hold."

In a letter to media Tuesday, Tyson poultry president Doug Ramsey says the decision comes after the Leavenworth County Commission on Monday reversed its support of issuing $500 million in industrial revenue bonds to help finance the plant.

The commission rescinded the resolution amid growing opposition to the plant from Leavenworth County residents. On Saturday, between 2,000 and 3,000 people attended a town hall and persuaded local legislators to oppose the plant.

Ramsey said Tyson still has an interest in building in Leavenworth County but will prioritize its locations in Kansas and other states that have expressed support for the plant.

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Tyson Foods plans to invest $320 million in a new chicken-processing plant in northeastern Kansas that will employ 1,600 people.

The company announced its plans Tuesday during a news conference with state and local officials in Tonganoxie.

Tyson plans to build the plant outside the town of 5,300 people about 30 miles west of Kansas City. The new plant is expected to open in mid-2019.