Wilbros Hearing Postponed

February 20, 2013

The scheduled continuation of a hearing seeking a preliminary injunction against Wilbros will not happen today as scheduled.

The preliminary injunction hearing was removed from the calendar, according to Stack and Associates, the firm representing Stephens County and the other plaintiffs in the civil suit against Wilbros.

Stephens County, the city of Toccoa, the Stephens County School System, and the Concerned Citizens of Toccoa-Stephens County, LLC are seeking a preliminary injunction against Wilbros. Those entities have sued the Rose Lane facility over the odor emanating from it.

The hearing on the preliminary injunction started in December and was to resume first in January. However in December, the judge presiding over the case, Judge Robert Adamson, postponed the hearing and ordered both sides into mediation.

That mediation started in January. Stephens County Attorney Brian Ranck said earlier this month that some progress has been made as the two sides have reached agreement on some issues. In addition, the two sides agreed on providing for communication and discussion between experts on steps that may or may not be needed. He said the mediation also provided for the defendants to produce some documents that substantiate compliance with the Environmental Protection Division consent order.

Stack and Associates went on to say the next step in the civil suit proceedings is to move to a trial on the case, likely later this year. However, no trial date has been set yet.

In the meantime, officials said that the EPD consent order agreed to by Wilbros remains a court order subject to enforcement as with any other court order.

That EPD consent order requires Wilbros to take a number of steps that the EPD said would reduce and control the odor problem, including not taking certain types of waste, making a number of upgrades to the facility, and making changes to the operation of the facility.

EPD officials did not return a call Tuesday seeking comment on Wilbros’ compliance with that consent order.

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