CLINTON, Iowa — A group of South Clinton residents has filed a lawsuit against Archer Daniels Midland Co., alleging that the biodegradable plastics manufacturing plant the company built in their neighborhood is a nuisance.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Davenport, includes 47 plaintiffs who either own or rent homes in South Clinton. The lawsuit alleges that the plant, which began operation early this year with about 100 employees, “constitutes a public and private nuisance.”
The neighbors claim they have been subjected to “deafening noises,” noxious fumes, vibrations that shake items off the walls of nearby homes and cause structural damage, intense light, dust that covers their homes and property, an increase in truck and train traffic, and fly ash.
“We understand a complaint has been filed. We do not have any additional information to provide at this time,” the company said in a statement issued by ADM spokesman Roman Blahoski.
Jeffrey Tronvold, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the plant has damaged the property values and rental rates for homes in the area and made it impossible for the residents to enjoy their homes.
Tronvold said the money the homeowners in South Clinton could receive by selling their homes would not be enough for them to buy comparable housing elsewhere in Clinton, and that they should be able to enjoy their homes, some of which have been in the same families for generations.
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“These people were there.” he said. “ADM brought the nuisance with them.”
The Mirel plastics plant, estimated in 2007 to cost $272 million, uses the dextrose corn syrup manufactured in another part of the Clinton plant as the feedstock for bacteria that produces a biodegradable plastic. The plastic can be used to make many products, including pens, pencils, gift cards and biodegradable plant pots used in home gardening.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop the plant from operating until the alleged nuisances can be addressed, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.