CTS Lawsuit Victory!

Raising awareness of contamination at the CTS site.
Raising awareness of contamination at the CTS site.

On Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court ruled in favor of community members (and against CTS Corporation) to encourage cleanup of the CTS of Asheville Superfund Site.

This is a profound victory for the South Asheville community. For all those families who have lived with fear of CTS’s chemical solvents impairing their health, for those individuals who have gotten sick, for all those who wish to see a healthy and vibrant community, the Court’s decision ensures our right to live without trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination in our backyards, wells, and very bodies.

The Court’s decision is a monumental step for healing.

In the lawsuit, the community is asking for:

  • judgment against CTS requiring reclamation of the 1,000,000 pounds of the toxic chemical contaminants
  • remediation of the environmental harm caused by CTS’s toxic chemicals
  • monetary damages in an amount that will fully compensate them for all the losses and damages they have suffered, or will suffer in the future

The Court’s decision says, “Our decision here will likely raise the ire of corporations and other entities that wish to rest in the security of statutes of repose, free from the threat of being called to account for their contaminating acts.”

POWER sincerely hopes that this decision will lead to much higher degrees of corporate accountability when it comes to toxic contamination.

Much gratitude to the Fourth Circuit Court, and to all those in and outside of South Asheville who are working to foster a clean and safe environment for all people.

POWER will keep pushing for cleanup, and we couldn’t do it without your support!

See the Court’s opinion here: http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/121290.P.pdf

A letter to President Obama

Note: this letter was submitted by Gabriel Dunsmith, a POWER member, in response to a call from the local newspaper to write letters to President Obama about issues of concern prior to his visit to South Asheville on February 13, 2013.

Dear President Obama,

South Asheville is suffering.

I know because I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 11. I underwent intensive surgery and years of radiation treatment to rid the cancer from my neck tissue, my lymph nodes, and my lungs.

At the time of my diagnosis, my family and I knew little of the shuttered CTS of Asheville plant a mile from our house. But we soon learned that the abandoned factory was leaking the carcinogen trichloroethylene (TCE), used for decades as a degreaser—and then dumped out back.

TCE has migrated into my neighbors’ wells, into creeks I played in as a child, into our very homes. Meanwhile, CTS Corporation is alive and well, profiting on the suffering they inflicted upon Asheville. It is high past time for a full-scale cleanup. We need government intervention—and we need it now. For all the families with cancer, for all the children who are suffering, we need you, President Obama.

Making CTS Corporation pay for cleanup is the only way to right the wrong that CTS did to Asheville. Cleaning up this site should be part of a broader policy of eliminating toxic substances from the environment and protecting human life over corporate profit.

Asheville will always be my home, but this beautiful mountain town is not without its tragedies. And to rectify the injustices of the past, we need your help to shape a brighter future—and that starts with cleaning up CTS.


Gabriel Dunsmith
Arden, NC