240 residents of Tallevast - a small community midway between Sarasota and Bradenton - are suing Lockheed Martin over the effects of groundwater contamination, from the company’s weapons plant. Tallevast has claimed a connection for years between contamination from the plant - and symptoms among its residents—including seizures, migraines, and even cancer.
Two studies are currently underway – one by Lockheed Martin, the other by the Florida Department of Health – to determine what effect, if any, the contamination’s had on residents.
St. Petersburg attorney - Bruce Denson – says the suit makes two claims…that contamination made people sick, and devalued their property.
“Both of them are very serious claims – I think that probably the property value claims are more extensive than the injury, but the injury claims are more severe than the property value claims. So there’s a lot at stake for this community.”
Denson says there’s no dispute over the fact that groundwater is contaminated… but there IS over whether a link exists between contamination and illness. The plant operated for nearly 40 years in Tallevast—before Lockheed bought it in 1996. The company then discovered the grounds were contaminated with arsenic and other potentially dangerous chemicals - and then sold the property to another company. Besides Lockheed Martin, the suit also names several other companies, including Wire-Pro – the current owners of the site – and Loral Corp, which first owned the plant.
Wednesday, 07 September 2005 01:00