Asian carp processing plant temporarily stops operations in Grafton amid foul odor accusation

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GRAFTON, Illinois — The chief executive of a southern Illinois Asian carp processing plant says the facility has ceased operations ahead of a 30-day deadline to stop emitting rotten odors or shut down.

American Heartland Fish Products chief executive officer Gray Magee told The (Alton) Telegraph ( ) that the Grafton site has temporarily stopped processing fish. The city gave the company the deadline on Oct. 22, saying the smell is a nuisance odor that's against city code. A company attorney appealed the ruling, but the appeal was later denied through a unanimous vote by the city council. Company officials claim the business' state and constitutional rights were violated by the city's 30-day nuisance abatement.

The company is considering moving the plant and is in talks with three locations, Magee said Monday. Three resident investors, Magee, Ben Allen and Bryon LeBeau, have been thinking about moving plant operations since September, when Allen told the council the plant would move if it couldn't address the smell.

"We're actively looking for somewhere to move. We understand. We apologize," Peter Allen, plant manager and son of investor Ben Allen, said at the Grafton City Council meeting.

Ben Allen also apologized and agreed with residents' remarks that the odor was unacceptable. He has since told the newspaper that the Grafton plant could be used by the business for something other than carp rendering.

The multimillion-dollar plant opened in April, turning the invasive species into dehydrated meal and fish oil. Company officials told the city before it opened that there would be no foul smells.

Information from: The Telegraph,

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