Alabama Residents Claim Coal Plant Is Damaging Their Homes

(CN) – The operations of a Birmingham, Alabama, coal plant has blanketed a nearby community with coal dust, damaging property and sickening residents, dozens claim in court.

More than 70 residents of Jefferson County, Ala. are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in the Bessemer division of the Jefferson County Circuit Court.

According to the Feb. 20 complaint, defendants Seneca North America Coal and Oak Grove Resources, operators of the

Concord Coal Preparation Plant located in Hueytown, Alabama, about 15 miles west of downtown Birmingham, have done little to nothing to control airborne contaminants emanating from their facility.

The property owners, all of whom live within a three-mile radius of the plant, claim “[B]ecause of Defendants’ activities, the subject airborne contaminants and/or particulates have been deposited in or on the air, soil, surface water, or groundwater on, above, under, in the vicinity of, or adjacent to” their homes.

As a result, they claim, their property values have been diminished and they’re struggling to maintain their homes.

“Plaintiffs have been and continue to be forced to expend time and money to keep their properties clean and free of the airborne contaminants and particulates,” the complaint states.

The plaintiffs believe the contaminants are coming from a variety of sources at the plant, including “its thermal dryer, vehicular traffic on roadways within the facility and public roadways, wind erosion from stock piles, drop points, bulldozing and grading operations, operation of its granular coal injection system, and other business activities and operations.”

The complaint states claims for negligence, trespass and nuisance against the companies and seeks compensatory damages in the matter.

“Defendants’ operation of the Plant has caused, and continues to cause, harm and damage to Plaintiffs’ real and personal properties,” the plaintiffs state.

The plaintiffs in the case are represented by Birmingham attorneys Lloyd Gathings and Will Latimore. On Wednesday, they amended the complaint to bring the total number of plaintiffs to more than 100.

Representatives of the defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.

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