About 100 local residents suing Wilbros in federal court want the judge to issue a preliminary injunction shutting down the facility on Rose Lane pending a trial on the suit they filed earlier this month in federal court.
Toccoa Attorney Alton Adams said he filed the motion for a preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court in Gainesville on Friday on behalf of the plaintiffs.
Adams said that with a trial still a number of months away, he feels the situation regarding the odor from the Wilbros’ facility and its effect on his clients justifies a temporary injunction to shut the plant down prior to trial.
“The evidence is overwhelming that this odor has affected literally hundreds of individuals, not only the 100-plus I represent, but so many people that live in and around and within a couple of miles of it,” said Adams.
Adams filed the civil suit in U.S. District Court earlier this month against Wilbros and associated defendants on behalf of about 100 individuals listed as plaintiffs.
The suit has alleged that the Rose Lane facility is violating the federal Air Quality and Emissions Limitations Act by being a major source of one or more hazardous air pollutants listed in the act.
In addition, the suit has alleged both that the odors are a nuisance under state law and that the odors are trespassing onto the properties of the plaintiffs, who have never authorized the intrusion of the odors.
In the motion for the preliminary injunction, the plaintiffs have stated that the defendants have allowed and continue to allow “offensive and harmful” odors to be emitted from the Wilbros facility and that those odors have damaged and continue to damage the health and/or property of the plaintiffs, their families, and the surrounding community.
The motion then stated the odors are “willfully and intentionally” emitted by the defendants despite numerous and repeated objections and demands for the odor to stop.
Adams said that included with the motion for a preliminary injunction are 18 affidavits supporting the plantiffs’ claims.
“(The affidavits are) describing how the Wilbros’ odor has affected them, their children, their grandchildren, the value of their homes, and how it has affected lives in general,” said Adams. “The affidavits were attached so the judge would know how serious the problem is.”
The plaintiffs, in those affidavits, talk about Wilbros’ effect on their lives, stating that they cannot go outside or open their windows due to the smell; discussing having to cover their faces while at Liberty Elementary School or other places near the plant; and stating that their property values have declined and could not be sold because of the smell from the facility.
Adams said that he has requested a hearing to be held on the motion for a preliminary injunction prior to the start of school in StephensCounty on August 22, if the judge’s calendar allows.
This suit has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Richard Story.
Wilbros and the associated defendants have not yet responded to the federal suit, but they have until later this month to do so.