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Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 12:59pm

Neighbors Sue Over Plant Scherer

Updated: 1 year ago.
Neighbors of a coal-fired power plant in Monroe County are suing the plant’s owners, Georgia Power and Southern Company. People who live near Plant Scherer have for years complained of ailments consistent with exposure to heavy metals found in coal. (FILE PHOTO)

Lawyers made their opening salvo in a civil action against the owners of Plant Scherer Thursday.

Some people who live near the massive coal-fired power plant in Juliette have complained of health problems for years.

The lawsuits filed in Dekalb County Court allege, among other things, that Georgia Power (and its corporate parent, Southern Company) engaged in racketeering, conspiring to profit from a decision they knew would hurt people.

Namely, according to the suits, to store huge amounts of coal ash in a pond with no liner that would stop pollutants from seeping into the soil.

Macon Attorney Brian Adams is representing dozens of plaintiffs complaining of heath problems.

"Heavy metals that are in the coal ash, some of the main things that they can do to someone’s body is attack the liver, cause liver cancer, the kidney, the lungs, a lot of bad breathing problems," Adams said.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for their medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.

"It is a financial compensation that we are seeking," Adams said. "But we’re also hoping the residual effect of moving forward will be to clean up the area, and hopefully Georgia Power will pay attention and understand that some of their practices are not healthy."

Adams is partnering with a high-powered New York firm that won nearly a billion dollars for 9/11 first responders. Several more rounds of lawsuits are coming, he said.

A statement from Georgia Power points to earlier environmental studies that did not find dangerous concentrations of pollutants.

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