Renewable Environmental Solutions' goal is to reduce animal waste and create an alternative energy source by converting poultry byproducts to fuel oil and other marketable materials. The lawsuit seeks to get the plant to address its odor problem, and for the people who have been affected by it all this time to be compensated.
"The suit was filed in state court in Carthage city, removed by Renewable Environmental Solutions (RES) to federal court and has now been remanded back to state court," says lawyer Rhon Jones of Beasley Allen law firm. "We are still seeking class action status but we get calls on a daily basis."
EPS is a rendering plant -at extreme heat, turkey offal is turned into oil. This plant is on the edge of town and many homes are in close proximity, including the town square and restaurants. Understandably, tourism has suffered.
The plant was built in 2004. At that time, residents were not warned of any odors that would be emitted from the plant. "Unbelievable promises were made by ERS saying there would be no smell," says Jones, "and when there was an odor, they denied it. Residents were appalled."
"Currently in Missouri, there is a debate about odor regulations--mainly on whether the regulations should be tougher," adds Jones. "We understand much of this debate is coming from residents in Carthage. Some states have strict odor regulations and tests to check for odor violations. Unfortunately, ERS is hiding behind regulatory language. For instance, someone could be standing in the town square and the air will stink to high heaven but a regulator could come out two days later and take a test when there isn't a smell."
Residents weren't told the air would stink to high heaven when they were down-wind. Perhaps RES wants to make sure the regulator is up-wind when he visits Carthage.
"We have been working closely with state government and regulators but in this case, I believe the state is trying to work with the residents," says Jones.