WINCHESTER, Okla. — A small Green Country community is up in arms after being surprised by a new neighbor moving in.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation said its 25,000 square foot facility would improve its food distribution, but residents in the town said it is only causing them trouble.
"It doesn't seem fair, and it seems like we are David and Goliath," said Mayor Debbie Atkison of Winchester, Okla.
Adkison took her seat as mayor of Winchester in October around the same time the Muscogee (Creek) Nation broke ground on its near $10 million facility.
"The community is pretty much behind the idea that we don't want it here," Adkison said.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation used a portion of its CARES Act funding to build the plant. The tribe aims to provide affordable beef and cattle processing, but Amy Thrower said the wastewater lagoon on the other side of her backyard fence only brings her worry.
"It's definitely not very neighborly," Thrower said.
She noticed the construction out of the blue one fall October day and called Mayor Adkison's office to find out what it was, but she did not know either.
"Once they broke ground on it the community instantly started calling," Adkison said.
They voiced their concerns over health and well-being. The well water town is worried the plant’s wastewater will seep into its ground supply. They are also concerned air-sprayed chemicals could harm their families and livestock.
"I mean, after a year of COVID, I think we all know that is a health risk," Adkison said.
"They're doing what they want," Thrower said. "They haven't slowed down and they haven't spoken to our concerns."
Those concerns were laid out in a January virtual meeting with tribal leadership.
In a statement to 2 Works for You, a Muscogee (Creek) Nation spokesperson said:
"The Muscogee Nation strives to be good neighbors. Recently some neighbors from the community of Winchester reached out with concerns regarding the Meat Processing Facility and potential environmental impacts related to construction and operation. We took these concerns seriously and met with our neighbors and their representatives. During the meeting, our experts provided information and illustrated features and decisions that were made in coordination with the Nation's Environmental Services Office to meet all compliance and regulatory conditions. Despite our efforts, it seems as though we were unable to assuage their concerns. The Muscogee Nation is a proven environmental steward and historically has stood with communities against bad actors across the Reservation. We have the utmost respect for our environment and the future of all Oklahomans. This project's design reflects that, and we stand behind its quality."
"I don't fell like they were addressed," Thrower said. "I feel like they were dismissed."
And, according to Thrower, shut out.
Adkison told 2 Works for You after the joint meeting, tribal leadership told the City of Winchester's attorney not to contact them again.
"We just want it resolved and we don't want them here," Adkison said.
Adkison said the City of Winchester has a pending lawsuit against the tribe. She said their ultimate goal is to get the plant shut down.
- Officer killed in Friday's US Capitol car attack identified; suspect also killed
- DOWNLOAD the 2 Works for You app for alerts
- Washington County deputy laid to rest Friday afternoon
- FOLLOW 2 Works for You on Facebook
- Easter: Weekend activities and events for kids, families to enjoy
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --