ORLANDO, Fla. — A class-action lawsuit was filed against Orlando Utilities Commission Wednesday after plaintiffs accuse the company of polluting communities with cancerous toxins.
- Lawsuit alleges OUC coal plants are polluting Orlando communities
- Suit says cancerous toxins are contributing to higher child cancer rates
- Complaint also filed against developers in Orlando communities
- READ IT: Class-action lawsuit against OUC
The suit filed in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida alleges the public utility company, which provides water and electric services to Orlando residents, has polluted the homes and properties of more than 30,000 residents in East Orange County neighborhoods.
The lawsuit is filed on behalf of residents in various Orlando communities, including Avalon Park, Stoneybrook, and Eastwood. It argues the residents were “deprived of fair use of their properties” and “need remediation” to curb anymore harm.
According to a press release, the pollutants are reportedly byproducts from OUC’s coal-fueled power plants at Curtis H. Stanton Energy Center, which is near the neighborhoods described in the suit.
Attorney Ted Leopold, Partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, says the lawsuit follows months of investigations, soil testing, and studying the impact of toxins in the air and groundwater.
"The goal of the lawsuit is to provide full and complete remediation to the homeowners, all of the people who have purchased properties and homes at that site, to clean up the area, stop the contamination, make it so that it is completely safe and livable," he said.
Test results on soil samples conducted on behalf of the plaintiffs reportedly found carcinogenic toxins that exceeded healthy state and federal regulatory standards.
The suit says studies show coal plant pollution resulted in child cancer rates up to 10 times higher than the national average.
The complaint was also filed against the developers of the respective Orlando neighborhoods, which argues they did not give sufficient warning to residents of the health risks.
Orlando Utilities Commission spokesman Tim Trudell gave Spectrum News the following statement:
“The Stanton Energy Center’s operations are highly regulated by both the state and federal governments. OUC meets or exceeds all permitting requirements as environmental stewardship is one of the key principles of our organization. Due to the pending litigation, we cannot get into any additional detail at this time.”
This suit comes after OUC announced in early December that it's considering shutting down coal-fired power plants.
Reporter Cheryn Stone contributed to this story.