McLemore Cove Preservation Society drops chicken plant lawsuit

Members of the McLemore Cove Preservation Society announced today they are dropping a lawsuit against Walker County and Pilgrim’s Pride as they believe it has fulfilled what they set out to accomplish. The lawsuit was filed in an attempt to block the chicken processing plant from opening a facility in McLemore Cove, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The group launched a formal protest initiative against Pilgrim’s Pride last week called “Don’t Slaughter Our Cove,” which immediately garnered local, regional and national attention. The group is continuing efforts under the initiative to ensure industry does not go into the protected cove.

“Although we immediately received overwhelming universal support when we announced the Don’t Slaughter Our Cove Initiative last week, we felt that dropping the lawsuit was in the best interest of Walker County and its citizens to productively move forward,” said Ruth Almeter, a resident and spokesperson for the group. “We are hopeful that a chicken plant is not going into McLemore Cove.”

The McLemore Cove Preservation Society also said they support economic development in the county but will continue to fight any kind of industry going in McLemore Cove.

“We are completely supportive of economic development and jobs, and we know Walker County is in deep financial trouble,” said Blackwell Smith, another resident, businessman and spokesperson for the society. “However, a chicken plant offers low, non-livable wages, brutal working conditions and all sorts of environmental hazards. Water pollution in our cove would have affected the health of half a million people living in the metro Chattanooga area since our creeks flow up into the Tennessee River.”

The group says it plans to continue to stay organized and gain support for the Don’t Slaughter Our Cove movement.

“We are very appreciative of our current supporters and ask others to join us,” Almeter added. “Our mission is far from over, and we will continue to vigorously apply pressure and fight to keep industry out of the cove. Dirty industry only attracts dirty industry, and we need clean industry and good-paying jobs in our community.”

About McLemore Cove
McLemore Cove is named after a prominent Cherokee/Scottish family who settled in the area during the 1820s. The Cove also played an active role during the Civil War in the events leading up to the Battle at Chickamauga. The area developed a few small communities with further growth occurring when the Chattanooga Southern Railroad was established in 1887. Industry also developed at Estelle during the early 20th-century with the mining of iron ore. A group of residents formed the McLemore Cove Preservation Society in 1989 to protect the cove from a power plant and to preserve its history.