Plaintiffs seek class-action status for pollution lawsuit against Hatfield's Ferry coal-fired plant

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Three Masontown residents, seeking to represent 1,004 area families, today sued FirstEnergy Corp. citing pollution from its threatened Hatfield's Ferry coal-fired power plant.

Julius and Francine Jesso, along with Sheilah Novasky, claim in the lawsuit that they face arsenic-laced fly ash, odors and gases from the nearby plant, which interferes with their ability to use their property. Their complaint alleges that "a very heavy, black particulate" from the plant rains down on their properties, constituting a nuisance, negligence and trespassing.

"They're constantly cleaning everything in their homes," said Peter Macuga, a Detroit-based attorney representing the residents along with Downtown-based James E. DePasquale. "In the permit that every one of these polluters operate under it says right on its face: You cannot damage private property through your industrial operation and your emissions."

The lawsuit claims that FirstEnergy has not used the best available pollution-preventing technology at Hatfield's Ferry.

The lawsuit comes two weeks after FirstEnergy said it may have to postpone the planned Oct. 9 closure of the Hatfield's Ferry plant because of concern that it could affect the reliability of regional energy supplies.

A FirstEnergy spokesman could not be immediately reached.

A judge would have to certify the 1,004 families as a class before the case could go forward as a class action.

region - businessnews - neigh_south

Rich Lord:, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord.


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