Lawsuit Perfect Storm Set In Pensacola

In one day, in the same issue, and on the same pages, the editorial pages echo a story on the front page called “Troubled Waters.” The Pensacola News Journal editorial page begins with “Still a long way to go in curbing toxic emissions.” Citing problems with mercury and lead both here and across the nation, raising the impact to “the critical importance of taking stronger steps to reduce or eliminate emissions of toxic chemicals.” It’s lead paint in houses, it’s PCB’s. What would we do without a ‘crisis’ to champion? And who eats houses anyway?

In the same section comes an article from Emerald Coastkeepers, an environmental group with strong ties to BIG law and Air America Radio talk show hosts Mike Papantonio and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., both of whom can lay claim to suing the pants off big corporations from Hudson Falls, NY to a mining town in West Virginia, and BIG pharm and BIG tobacco. This article says that the Coastkeepers are keeping and eye on a BIG company, Archer-Western, doing road infrastructure work for the county. Seems that all the state-required environmental precautions are no match for the occasional signature Florida rainstorm and some runoff goes into a bayou, Bayou Texar.

Curious thing about Bayou Texar is that it is lined with expensive homes with septic systems that leak raw sewage into it, rain or shine, 24-7-365, and the Coastkeepers are not concerned with stopping that. It’s about who has the deepest pockets, not who is doing the most damage.

The PNJ is just playing the responsible role in informing us of the environmental problems around us. And it is also laying the groundwork for the dynamic duo to go after those big, evil corporations again.

Digging deeper into this perfect storm shows the Independent News was the first to bring it up in their November 1st cover story. Coming off his “landmark environmental victory” in Spelter, W.Va, Papantonio says “I’m going to start doing cases like this in our area. I’m ready for it.” Papantonio sort of laid out his cards in an interview with editor Duwayne Escobedo like this . . .

“We have a generational issue here,” he says. “We had a generation of politicians, media types, businessmen, doctors and professionals who knew better but allowed the environmental devastation to happen anyway. There is going to be a backlash.”

He’s already thinking about the next environmental cases Levin Papantonio and its partners will do in Northwest Florida but he’s not ready to reveal them all yet.

Pressed about it, he does single-out lumber and paper company International Paper. Levin Papantonio filed suit last year on behalf of a handful of Cantonment residents against the company, the world’s largest paper company.

PNJ links: Still a long way to go in curbing toxic emissions
Emerald Coastkeeper monitors runoff problem
Troubled Waters
Nov 1 Independent News Cover Story: Papantonio Promises To Clean Up ‘Backyard’

related links in PNJ’s forum from an anonymous poster named hoagie. That would be me.

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