Testimony in the two-week trial in Baltimore over how poultry practices affect the water quality on Maryland’s Eastern Shore has ended, but the spinning continues, with closing arguments now set for Nov. 30. Sometime after that, U.S. District Court Judge William Nickerson will render his decision in the closely watched civil litigation. With trial testimony over, Perdue Farms Inc. and Save Farm Families (SFF), both issued public statements. “After almost three years, this case came down to the proposition that any chicken house with a door or a fan is a source of pollution and therefore likely in violation of the Clean Water Act, “ said Perdue Farms spokesperson Julie DeYoung. “To make this ridiculous argument, the Waterkeeper Alliance, Assateague Coastal Trust and University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic put a farm family through hell, drove a wedge between farmers and environmentalists, and wasted taxpayer resources,” she added. New York City-based Waterkeeper Alliance is the plaintiff in the civil case against Perdue Farms and Hudson Farm, one farm near Berlin, MD that raises chickens under contract for the poultry giant. Assateague was instrumental in bringing the lawsuit and the state law clinic is providing attorneys to Waterkeepers. Hudson Farm, a fourth generation family farm that diversified into chickens 18 years ago, and currently has capacity to raise 80,000 at one time, gets support from SSF. “All along we’ve said this lawsuit threatens family farms across the country, and the trial revealed the true agenda of the groups and individuals involved in the case—too use trumpeted up pollution charges to attack poultry farms,” said SFF spokesman Andrew Mclean. He said the environmental groups did not prove their case, adding that the plaintiffs “continuously changed their story to find some reason to vilify a hardworking farm family just because they raise chickens. Mclean also noted Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has called the use of the state law school resources against the family farm as an “injustice.” Waterkeepers has not said much lately outside of court, but it has engaged the services of the politically savvy and Washington D.C.-based Food & Water Watch. It blogged about the inconsistencies in farmer Alan Hudson’s testimony as he tried to explain technical documents that were prepared for his signature for a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan. It may have signed a document for a period when the farm did not actually have a plan in effect dealing with controls like buffer areas and drainage. Waterkeepers brought the lawsuit against Perdue and Hudson for poultry practices under the federal Clean Water Act. When the case was originally filed, environmentalists claimed erroneously there was a large pile of chicken manure on the farm. Waterkeepers went forward with the case, changing the focus of its arguments to how ventilation fans on the barns and the boots of farmers could contribute to water pollution. Both sides appear to think Judge Nickerson’s decision will be precedent-setting for both the chicken industry and for citizen enforcement of the federal Clean Water Act by environmental groups.