Residents of a South Carolina town have filed more than 27,000 reports with their health department after saying a nearby paper mill co-owned by New England Patriots boss Robert Kraft is making them sick with noxious gases.
Members of the Fort Mill community claim that the New-Indy paper mill in nearby Catawba emits foul-smelling fumes that have caused migraines, dizziness, vomiting, nosebleeds and burning eyes.
The gases, which residents say resemble the smell of rotten eggs, rotten cabbage and feces, have spread as far as 50 kilometers and have affected 1.5 million people, The Daily Beast reported Wednesday.
After more than six months of complaining, residents are fighting back with lawsuits against the plant.
The New-Indy paper mill (pictured) in Catawba, SC is accused of releasing foul-smelling fumes that have spread for 30 miles, affecting 1.5 million people
Two months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency filed an emergency order telling the plant (pictured) to “begin immediately to take steps to minimize air emissions,” but locals say little has changed.
Residents including Scott Stevens (left) and Karen Reilly (right) say the noxious gases released at the factory have caused migraines, dizziness, vomiting, nosebleeds and burning eyes
Just two months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency filed an emergency order telling the plant to “begin immediately to take steps to minimize air emissions,” but locals say little has changed.
“We feel like we are being poisoned and gassed in our homes,” resident Karen Reilly told the… Daily Beast.
Scott Stevens echoed her claims, citing examples of how the gases regularly give him nosebleeds.
“I feel like I have a runny nose. It’s actually blood,” he explained, noting that he had no history of nosebleeds.
In addition, in a recent site inspection, EPA workers reportedly experienced similar symptoms to residents, including headaches, itchy eyes and nausea.
During that inspection, the agency determined that the plant’s emissions “posed an imminent and significant threat to public health.”
There are currently three lawsuits pending against New-Indy.
The lawsuits, each seeking more than $5 million in damages, aim to change the way the company handles its waste disposal processes.
“This has to be one of the most, if not the most significant and egregious cases of air pollution I’ve seen,” said W. Roger Truitt, an environmental attorney who is part of one of the lawsuits. FOX 46.
Three lawsuits are currently pending against New-Indy and its owners, including Robert Kraft, CEO of New England Patriots (center)
New-Indy (pictured) has filed motions to dismiss the lawsuits, arguing that none of the complaints are strong enough against them
Lawyers say one of the lawsuits against the factory is a class action involving more than a thousand plaintiffs.
The lawyers are encouraging their clients to continue holding town halls to discuss the case, saying it will strengthen their position against New-Indy, as well as their credibility in court.
New-Indy has filed motions to dismiss the lawsuits, arguing that none of the complaints are strong enough.
Meanwhile, WBTV says community members are sending letters to prominent leaders, including the governor, the NFL, state legislators and more, asking for help in this battle.
“We have to prove that we have more than their employees,” Kerry Bishop told the TV station. “We should have enough to prove to a judge that this is a serious issue that concerns everyone.”