By Molly Harper firstname.lastname@example.org
KEVIL, Ky. -A small crowd gathered at the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area clubhouse Monday night to discuss seeking compensation from the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and the Department of Energy for health problems and lowered property values they blame on the plant.
The group, called Active Community for Truth, first met last month. It is made of people who live near the plant or had family members who worked there.
Ruby English, who claims her 16-year-old son suffers from liver and brain damage because of toxic metal poisoning caused by the plant, said the group is determined to make someone listen to their complaints and do something about them.
"The only way anybody's going to make any headway is to make noise," she said. "If we raise our voices loud enough, somebody's going to have to hear us. I didn't go into this for the short battle, I'm here for the war."
Monday night's discussion focused on activities for next month's meeting, which will feature a presentation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The ATSDR is a federal agency that is responsible for assessing the health problems of people who live around plants like Paducah's.
Ronnie Lamb, who lives one mile from the plant, suggested that the group have defined demands they want from DOE before meeting with its representatives.
"They've divided us into all of these little groups, putting one against the other, so they can control us," he said. "Communities have to speak out to get what they want. And we have to ask for something specific. Ask for the moon, at least then you'll get a sliver."
On Aug. 24, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Coalition for Health Concerns will present the results of a health study of the area. The presentation will be at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse.
The group's next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at the clubhouse. It is open to the public.