Muscatine citizens seek voice in state’s suit against grain processor

Photo by apo lanthar, Flickr.

A group of 40 Muscatine citizens known as Clean Air Muscatine (CLAM) is seeking to have its voice included in the state’s lawsuit against an alleged corporate polluter, Grain Processing Corporation (GPC).

In a lawsuit filed last month, The Iowa Department of Natural Resources alleges that GPC is a major source of hazardous air pollutants including formaldehyde, hydochloric acid and methanol.

Clean Air Muscatine is arguing that the state cannot adequately represent their interests, and is attempting to intervene in the case. Several members submitted sworn affidavits to the court describing the effects of the pollution.

“I believe GPC considers environmental fines as an operational expense, a cost of operation,” wrote Rev. Jim Turner of United Musserville Methodist Church, located across the street from the plant. “GPC and the individuals that govern it need to be responsible and held accountable for their actions.”

“I would like to go walking, which I know is good for me, but I cannot because of the terrible air pollution,” wrote Sherry Leonard, who lives one-half mile from the plant. “When I leave my windows open at night, I wake up in the morning and it smells like my house is on fire.”

The citizen’s group claims that GPC has “seriously threatened” the health, safety and welfare of the city’s residents, adding that the company has driven down real estate values, discouraged job growth, and slowed economic expansion.

GPC spokeswoman Janet Sicterman said the company remained “committed to doing our part to improve air quality in Muscatine and the surrounding area.”

For more information, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.

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