Meandering
Thoughts

Newberry Residents Attend Meeting
Considering Dirty Solar Litigation


  Posted: April 24, 2022
Newberry Springs Community Alliance
'For those who want to know more
about Newberry Springs.'

by Ted Stimpfel

    Approximately 60 Newberry Springs residents attended a legal presentation on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at the Newberry Springs American Legion Post 751.  The meeting included a question and answer session centered on the possibility of filing a tort action against Clearway Energy for the blowing sand being created by Clearway Energy's Daggett solar power project.

    Richard D. McCune, Jr., a partner and attorney with the law firm McCune,Wright, Arevalo, provided an overview of the process of filing a 'mass action' lawsuit for the recovery of damages.

    A class action suit is where the plaintiffs all have a similar injury resulting from a faulty product (or other tort).  Procedurally, in a class action, the evidence relates to each plaintiff and the plaintiffs are treated collectively.  In a mass action, each plaintiff has a different type and degree of injury and each plaintiff must separately provide satisfactory evidence of their individual injury.

    In a mass action, each plaintiff's separate injury is argued separately under the umbrella of a single action.  Each plaintiff can settle individually or proceed to trial.

    While some attendees at the meeting spoke of being significantly impacted and damaged by the blowing sand, little emphasis during the discussion was made of the microscopic silica dust that is a major health hazard.

    The 5.5-square mile industrial project was intentionally placed in a known and hazardous Sand Transport Path upwind to a residential community solely for a greater profit for Clearway Energy.

    Clearway could have placed its project anywhere upon millions of acres set aside for solar development by the federal government in the DRECP and elsewhere.  But to cut construction costs, Clearway Energy knowingly, and with premeditation, callously sacrificed the health of Newberrians for its corporate greed.

    While attorney McCune made several comments that medical would be a part of any possible litigation, the emphasis of the discussion was largely placed upon the physical damage to property, emotional injury, property devaluation, harm to animals, and the disruption of normal living.

    While I feel that there is certainly sufficient harm for some to now file litigation, for most residents the real damage will come in the form of the microscopic carcinogenic silica dust damaging their health.  In some cases, the silica dust may lead to a lengthy, painful, and suffocating death from lung damage.

    For most, the time isn't right to file now.  I personally don't wish to file too early and to be possibly barred from later filing when my health worsens.

    Plaintiffs, such as myself, would have trouble at this early time substantiating sufficient proof of injury due to the lack of an adequate medical baseline.  If we plan to continue to live in Newberry, we need to immediately establish documentation of our current medical condition.

    McCune opined that it would be unwise to seek an injunction to stop the solar development from creating the toxic hazard as the County had a lot of discretion in licensing the solar project.  However, the corrupt County bent over backwards in violating CEQA, the state's Social Justice requirements, County Code, and other regulations in approving the project.

    McCune stated that if enough residents sign up for litigation, and if his firm was to represent the Newberry's residents, that litigation could be filed in three weeks.

    A three-week timetable shocked me.  To properly understand the County's Land Use Services' perverse history and what has transpired in leading to this point, would require more time to compile and organize the data to give the matter justice.

    After regularly writing published blogs for over four years warning of this foreseeable health disaster, it is interesting to witness certain residents finally waking up to the problem at their front door.

    Newberry is now realizing the consequences of doing nothing and of not being proactive.  A great weight of the blame falls directly upon the community's poor CSD leadership and on the community not holding the CSD board members accountable.

    The damages that Newberry is now experiencing have not happened in a vacuum, Newberrians have allowed it to happen by their apathy.  Where there is apathy, others will take advantage.

Another opinion given on Facebook:

    Anyone who feels that the solar projects in the Silver Valley are (or will be) physically impacting their pulmonary function is encouraged to join our activist victims' group.
newberrystrong@mail.com

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