Worried about the pollution of one of the largest industrial complexes in Europe, residents of Fos-sur-Mer (Bouches-du-Rhône) are suing four industrialists, including ArcelorMittal and Esso, for “disturbing the neighborhood their lawyer said Monday.
This civil action “targets the worst students, who do not respect the regulations”, said Me Julie Andreu who represents 14 inhabitants. The oil depot of Fos and the chemist Kem One are also assigned.
A subpoena has been drafted which will later allow the High Court of Aix-en-Provence to set a hearing date. This court is already seized of a criminal complaint against X, for “endangering the life of others”. It brings together some 300 complainants.
Neighbors of chemical plants in the Gulf of Fos, on the Mediterranean near Marseilles, some have developed chronic diseases and denounce “living conditions seriously impacted” by pollution, according to their assignment, consulted by AFP.
They invoke in particular the “anxiety damage” linked to fumes that sometimes exceed the standards and the “cocktail effect” between pollutants, and claim compensation, as well as the compliance of factories.
The state has repeatedly pinned industrialists in the area for regulatory violations.
The complainants rely in particular on two studies that have shown above-average rates of chronic illness in the vicinity of Fos, as well as the contamination of locally produced foods with chemical emissions and heavy metals.
Contacted by AFP, the Esso refinery refused to comment on the current procedure, recalling having made “very consistent efforts to reduce its emissions” in recent years. ArcelorMittal told AFP that it has done “a lot of things to reduce the environmental impact”. According to the industrialist “the situation was also re-established in the spring at the coking plant, where we returned to the norms in terms of air quality”. After “several months of work and an” investment of 130 million euros “, the 126 ovens” have all been the subject of reconstruction, “said ArcelorMittal.
In Fos, “we invested 100 million euros between 2012 and 2017, with concrete and significant results of systematic reduction of our impact: – 50% of dust emitted, -50% of sulfur dioxides, -70% of dioxins “argues ArcelorMittal, which plans to” invest another 100 million euros to further reduce our environmental footprint. ”