Federal lawsuit filed against OMYA

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(Host) A federal lawsuit has been filed against the multinational OMYA Corporation. The company extracts calcium carbonate from marble in Vermont. The waste is taken to an abandoned quarry in Florence.

The suit was filed on behalf of several Florence residents by the Vermont Law School Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic.

The plaintiffs contend that contaminants from the chemically treated waste are creating a threat to health and the environment. Patrick Parenteau is with the law clinic.

(Parenteau) “We want three things. We want the waste that’s being generated to be disposed of in a certified waste disposal facility. We want the old waste on-site solidified or dealt with in a way that prevents leachate. And we want more thorough testing of the groundwater to determine how extensive the problem is.”

(Host) Parenteau says the suit is being filed because the state has been slow to respond to pollution problems at the OMYA site. He says OMYA was notified of the pending action months ago, but refuses to negotiate.

For its part, the company says it worked with environmental groups and the state to craft a bill passed by the legislature that addresses the problems in Florence.
Jim Reddy is President of OMYA.

(Reddy) “Everybody signed off on it. I’m just disappointed that one group didn’t choose to become part of the process and reach a good resolution. We’d sure rather be spending our money working on coming up with good solutions and a good solution to the environment in Vermont, rather than be fighting in a court of law over something that doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.”

(Host) OMYA contends that wells near the waste side are safe from contamination. But earlier this year, state regulators ruled that the waste was subject to state oversight because of concerns that chemicals could leach into groundwater.

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