Class-action lawsuit blames OUC, developers for alleged cancer cluster

Law firm claims Stanton Power Plant spews human carcinogen toward homes

By Mike Holfeld - Investigative Reporter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A class-action lawsuit filed on Thursday claims “combustion residuals” blown from two coal-fired  systems from the Stanton Power Plant in Orange County have contaminated properties in the Avalon Park area, exposing thousands of residents to cancer-causing contaminants.

Leslie Kroeger, a member of  Washington-based Cohen, Milstein Sellers & Toll, told News 6 that some children in the neighborhood have already died from cancer and the firm expects more cases involving children and adults to be reported in the weeks ahead.

“Since the lawsuit was filed, we’ve already had numerous other calls from families whose children have been diagnosed," Kroeger said. “They (OUC) are not taking the proper precautions to protect the people who live around the plant.”

Orlando Utilities Commission spokesperson Tim Trudell declined to discuss the legal action “due to pending litigation.”

When asked about allegations that the coal plant is exposing residents in the area to carcinogens, Trudell replied in part: “The Stanton Energy Center’s operations are highly regulated by both the state and federal governments. OUC meets or exceeds all permitting requirements as environmental stewardship is one of the key principles of our organization.”

It’s not clear how many cancer cases have been confirmed, although Kroeger indicated some children, possibly six, in the affected neighborhoods have died from cancer.

An estimated 30,000 residents are in the range of the airborne contaminants, according to the lawsuit.

The developers, including Lennar Corp., U.S. Home Corp., Avalon Park Group Management Inc. and Beat Kahli, have not issued a response to the class-action lawsuit.

Kroeger told News 6 that homebuyers moving to the developments, had been assured the area was environmentally sound. The homes were built between 1992 and 2013.

“Multiple people assured them, from different developers, (saying) 'It’s just steam coming out, it’s just fine,'" she said.
Kroeger said independent tests conducted over the past year found levels of polonium-220, a human carcinogen found in coal.

When asked if it was possible that the nearby landfill contributed to the exposure, Kroeger said all indications are that it's OUC’s coal. 

“They (OUC) are purchasing the most radioactive coal in the United States and running it through the power plant," she said.

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