Friday, a judge ruled against the temporary restraining order in the Meade County grain elevator case. A group of farmers asked for the restraining order weeks ago. This is for the TRO, not full argument in Lincoln Trail Grain Growers vs Meade County, Nucor & CGB.
MEADE COUNTY, Ky-- Some Kentucky farmers fight to keep a grain elevator operating is now in the hands of a judge. Farmers have been in court hoping to get a temporary restraining order that would prevent any changes to the property along the Ohio River in Brandenburg.
The moment comes months after controversy arose from the $1.3B deal struck to build a Nucor Steel plant on the site.
Thursday, a judge heard arguments from both sides about what the group of farmers called “immediate irreparable harm” that would come if CGB closed their facility Friday.
They announced in October that they would close on January 31st to make way for the Nucor deal.
Farmers argue that the deal was made illegally. They claim that county officials violated open meetings laws and unlawfully removed Riverport Authority Board members who were going to vote against letting CGB out of its lease so the land could be sold to Nucor.
Don Bewley, was one of those board members. He testified about a meeting involving county officials.
“There was questions about how we got to the point where it seemed like Consolidated interests were being cared for in this meeting, the county’s interests was being cared for in this meeting and, certainly, Nucor was being taken care of at this meeting. They were going to get a place to build a facility”, said Bewley. “And the one group of folks who was left out was the regional farmers.”
Bewley argued that farmers were the ones the riverport was originally set up to help.
An elevator employee laid out costs in planning for the closing and demolition of the site and the new man in charge of the steel plant talked about his excitement joining the community and waiting for 400 more employees to become Meade County residents too. He said two things that don't play well together are grain and steel barges and, for safety's sake, there should be no delay come Friday.
The judge could hand down his decision at any time.
Farmers say one thing they learned in court has added to their concern. The CGB worker said that, no matter what the judge decides, they are not going to be shipping out grain beyond Sunday, February 2nd, because their contract with a shipping company ends that day.