Continuation Of Wilbros Court Hearing Postponed

A hearing for a preliminary injunction in the Wilbros case will not continue next month as the two sides have been ordered into further mediation.

Superior Court Judge Robert Adamson has ordered attorneys for both sides into mediation to take place either on January 24 or 25 or at a time prior to January 31 and provide an update to the court on that mediation no later than February 1.

As a result, he has continued the hearing on the Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Preliminary Injunction against Wilbros, which began on December 11 and was to resume on January 3, until February 20.

Stephens County, the city of Toccoa, the Stephens County School System, and the Concerned Citizens of Toccoa-Stephens County, LLC are seeking a preliminary injunction against Wilbros.

Those entities have sued the Rose Lane facility over the odor emanating from it. The suit alleges that the odor from the Wilbros’ facility is so strong that it interferes with the commercial, residential, economic, and aesthetic interests of the community, as well as causing health issues. Wilbros and the other defendants have asked the court to dismiss all of the suit’s claims and deny all of the allegations asserted by the plaintiffs in the suit.

During the first day of the hearing on December 11, attorney Don Stack argued on behalf of the plaintiffs that Wilbros should have to fix its odor problems before being able to operate further. Meanwhile, on behalf of Wilbros, attorney Steven Gilliam said that shutting down the Rose Lane facility would be devastating, adding that if Wilbros is shut down, there is no way it can comply with the EPD consent order.

Following that first day of the hearing, Judge Adamson issued an order, which still stands, that the EPD consent order agreed to by Wilbros would now be a court order subject to enforcement as with any other court order.

That EPD consent order requires Wilbros to take a number of steps that the agency says will reduce and control the odor problem, including not taking certain types of waste, making a number of upgrades to the facility, and making changes to the operation of the facility.