United Kingdom

Paper mill owned by Robert Kraft accused of sickening residents of South Carolina town

Residents in one South Carolina town have filed more than 27,000 reports with their state health department after they say a nearby paper mill owned by New England Patriots boss Robert Kraft is sickening them with noxious gases.

Fort Mill community members claim the New-Indy paper mill in nearby Catawba is releasing foul-smelling fumes that have cause migraines, dizziness, vomiting, nosebleeds and burning eyes.

The gases, which residents say resemble the odor of rotten eggs, spoiled cabbage and feces, have spread as far as 30 miles away, impacting 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 and its owners, which include Kraft, CEO of the Patriots NFL team.

The New-Indy paper mill (pictured) in Catawba, SC is accused of releasing foul-smelling fumes that have spread as far as 30 miles away, impacting 1.5million people

Residents including Scott Stevens (left) and Karen Reilly (right) say the noxious gases released at the mill 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 'immediately begin taking steps to minimize air emissions,' however locals say there has hardly been any change.

'We feel like we're 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 give him regular nosebleeds.

'I feel like I have a runny nose. It's actually blood,' he explained, noting that he didn't have a previous history of nosebleeds. 

A private Facebook with more than 3,400 members is filled with post from locals attributing various ailment to the fumes from the mill.

On the public Fort Mill Community Advocates page, one resident even shared a photo of herself wearing a 3M half facepiece mask with a caption reading: 'This is where I'm at to save my health in Fort Mill until we can GET OUT or these emissions SHUT OFF!! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND for anyone close to this plant...' 

Local have taken to social media attributing various ailment to the fumes from the mill

Two months ago, the Environmental Protection Agency filed an emergency order telling the plant (pictured) to 'immediately begin taking steps to minimize air emissions,' however locals say there has hardly been any change.

Additionally, at a recent site inspection, EPA employees reportedly experienced similar symptoms to the residents including headaches, itchy eyes and nausea. 

During that inspection the agency determined the plant's emissions were 'presenting an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health'.

There are currently three active lawsuits against New-Indy.

The suits, each seeking over $5million in damages, aim to change how the company handles its waste removal processes. 

'This has to be one of the most, if not the most, significant and egregious cases of air pollution I’ve seen,' W. Roger Truitt, an environmental lawyer who is part of one of the lawsuits, told FOX 46.

There are currently three active lawsuits against New-Indy and its owners, one of whom is New England Patriots CEO Robert Kraft (middle)

New-Indy (pictured) has filed motions to dismiss the suits, arguing that none of the complaints have a strong enough case against them

Lawyers say one of the suits against the plant is a class action with more than one thousand plaintiffs. 

The lawyers encourage their clients to continue holding town halls discussing the matter as they say this strengthens their position against New-Indy, as well as their credibility in court.

New-Indy has filed motions to dismiss the suits, arguing that none of the complaints have a strong enough case against them. 

Meantime, WBTV says community members are sending letters to prominent leaders including the governor, the NFL, state legislators, and more, asking for assistance in this battle.

'We have to prove to have more than their employees,' Kerry Bishop told the TV station. 'We have to have enough to prove to a judge that this is a serious issue that's affecting everyone.' 

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