Friday, June 10, 2011

Rubbertown Lawsuit Terms Insulting

Rubbertown Lawsuit Terms Insulting

A couple of days ago REACT began receiving calls and inquiries about letters residents had received concerning a lawsuit in Rubbertown.  The letters they received were notice of a proposed settlement with Zeon Chemicals, one the chemical facilities in Rubbertown that has been spewing toxic chemicals into our neighborhoods for decades.  My first thought was “Here we go again.”  
In 2009, many in the community came very close to losing their right to sue Zeon while receiving little to literally nothing in return.  Luckily REACT and its allies were able to get the word out about the unfair settlement terms.  Community members packed out the courtroom and when the judge asked by a show of hands, who was in favor of the settlement, no one raised a hand.  Ultimately the judge denied the class settlement and residents were spared.
Fast forward to 2011.  This modified version of the settlement rejected in 2009 is just as bad.  First let’s deal with the money issues.  According to the Short Form Notice:
  • If you live within a mile of the facility, you will receive between $300 and $750
  • If you live within one to two miles you will receive $30 to $100
Okay, let’s stop there.  You mean to tell me that people will receive what amounts to enough money to pay an LG&E electric bill in the first scenario and what amounts to a tank of gas in the second scenario (rolling my eyes)?  Oh and I forgot to tell you.  You might even have to split what you receive with others who lived in your home within a certain time frame.  It just keeps getting better huh?
Let us continue...  The Short Notice Form also informs residents that for all of that money they will receive (insert sarcasm here), they will release all future claims for damages against Zeon.
Would you like to hear more ridiculousness?  People within a certain mile radius of the facility are automatically bound by the terms of the settlement unless that TAKE ACTION by opting out.  So this means people who do nothing will lose their rights.
It may sound to you like I am making light of the situation because of the way I presented it but “hear” me now...  This is SERIOUS.  We must muster up the strength to get the word out about this lawsuit.  People will lose their rights and gain minimal in return.  People in these neighborhoods are ill because of toxic chemicals coming from Rubbertown.  We cannot  allow them to pay us of with chump change and not even reduce our exposure to their toxic chemicals. 
REACT will hold it’s 3rd quarter meeting Saturday, July 16th at 1:00PM.  We will provide analysis of the terms so that you clearly understand and we will have opt out forms available for those who want no part of this ludicrous settlement.
If you would like to keep up with what is going on with the proposed settlement or issues related to Rubbertown, please send an email to

Eboni Neal Cochran is a resident of the Chickasaw area, one of several neighborhoods adjacent to a cluster of chemical facilities commonly referred to as Rubbertown. She is a member of REACT (Rubbertown Emergency ACTion) an all volunteer grassroots organization of residents living at or near the fenceline of Rubbertown.
REACT is fighting for:
1. Strong laws to stop toxic air pollution from chemical plants
2. The protection of residents in the event of a leak, fire or explosion in a chemical plant or railcar
3. Full disclosure and easy access to information concerning the impact of Rubbertown on residents living nearby

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