NITRO, W.Va. – What should have happened two years ago will finally get underway in the coming weeks according to Stuart Calwell, the attorney representing the residents of Nitro in the Monsanto case.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the settlement between the company and the more than 4,000 residents who claim they’ve been impacted by contamination from toxic pollutants during the years the plant was operating.
Calwell said when the $93 million settlement was reached in Feb. 2012 he never imagined it would take nearly 26 months to get to a point where medical monitoring and home remediation could begin.
“It’s really been unfair to them to be put on hold while this tedious appeal process worked its way through the courts,” according to Calwell.
There’s just one more hurdle, a small one, to overcome.
“There is a 25-day period within which a petition with the Court to change its mind can be filed. But that is a very vanishingly small chance that that will happen,” said Calwell.
There have already been discussions with the remediation company set to come in and begin work on 4,500 homes to remove dioxin contamination. Calwell said it won’t happen overnight.
“We’ll see how many [remediation] teams to field so that more than one house can be cleaned at a time.”
The 30-year medical monitoring program will depend on the age of the person and the amount of time they spent in the contamination zone.
Monsanto produced Agent Orange and other highly toxic chemicals for 50 years before the plant closed in 1995.
Calwell stressed the latest court action is the beginning of the end for the plaintiffs.
“Hopefully within about 60 days we should be able to get these two programs underway,” said Calwell.