A coal-fired power plant, cancer and a small town in Georgia
Robert Maddox is a bulky man with gray hair, a deeply lined face, squinty eyes and a thick Southern accent. He lives in Juliette with his wife, Teresa. The two of them invested their life savings building their home. It’s a large ranch house on several acres, and the plan was the two of them would leave it for their sons and grandchildren. They gave up that dream after Maddox’s mother developed a rare form of ear cancer and died after living at the home for three years.
“I’m not going to bring my grandchildren up in this,” Maddox says. “Anybody who does would be a fool, I think.”
The problem, Maddox explains, is now he and his neighbors are getting sick. For Maddox, the first signs of trouble would come in the middle of the night, when he would wake up with nose bleeds mixed with clear mucus. Then his muscles started twitching, and then he got kidney disease, and then sclerosis of the liver.
His doctor wondered whether Maddox was an alcoholic.
“I don’t drink,” Maddox says dismissively before ticking off his other health problems…
The neighbor who used to live in the now-empty next door house has abdominal cancer. In the house two doors over, a once healthy woman has a form of dementia that’s left her “unrecognizable,” according to Maddox.
“Besides us all being sick, we’ve all been approached by Georgia Power, with them looking to buy us out” Maddox says. “And in that house next door, [Georgia Power] has sealed the well…”
“Y’know it’s coming from over there,” he says, nodding in the direction of one of the largest coal plants in the world, right across the two lane highway where Maddox collects his mail.
RTFA for a pretty typical tale of an environment distorted and made lethal by a power generation juggernaut. Georgia Power has been able to take the relatively easy way out of the death and disease they brought to Juliette, Georgia – in the name of electrification and profit. Buying folk’s homes, moving the people out of the way of any class action is always cheaper than law and justice.
But, then, this is Georgia and the concept of law, justice and politicians challenging a wealthy public utility is pretty much laughable.