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Coal Plant Blew Off Injunction, Neighbors Say

BESSEMER, Ala. (CN) - Hundreds of people say the Concord Coal Preparation Plant in Bessemer is violating an injunction by continuing to pollute their town with coal dust. The 209 plaintiffs say the company was ordered in 2002 to "minimize or eliminate" airborne emissions from its coal mine.

A 1997 class action resulted in the settlement order in October 2002, but the townspeople say the defendants know they are violating the injunction and "have also taken measures to willfully conceal their violation of the injunction."

The people say their respiratory systems have been damaged by coal dust, they have spent time and money cleaning it from their property, and the pollution leaves them more susceptible to disease.

The pollution comes from "numerous sources" at the coal plant, "including its thermal dryer, vehicular traffic ... wind erosion from stock piles, drop points, bulldozing and grating [sic] operations, operation of its granular coal injection system and other activities, according to the complaint in Jefferson County Court.

Named as defendants are Cliffs North American Coal fka Pinnoak Resources, Pinnoak Coal Sales, Oak Grove Resources, Video Industrial Services, G&R Mineral Services and Banner Industrial Construction.

The plaintiffs are represented by Edward McF. Johnson of Birmingham.

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