"We were dealing with something that was not just affecting one family, one farmer and animals on one piece of property. Everyone turned him away, except Bilott. Bartlett’s attorneys, including Robert Bilott, who has been working on C8 since taking the case of a West Virginia farmer named Wilbur Tennant in 1999, argue that DuPont is guilty of negligence, battery, and infliction of emotional harm for exposing Bartlett to C8 in her drinking water. She had a calf over there. Soon, Robert discovered that DuPont had been dumping chemical waste — including an unregulated chemical compound — near the site where Wilbur was raising his cattle. Hard labor was his birthright. . The preview shows Robert learning about DuPont from a rancher whose cows have been dying, it turns out, as a result of their chemical leak. The farmer’s name was Wilbur Earl Tennant. He wasn’t an expert, but the disease seemed clear enough that he bagged the physical evidence and left it in his freezer for the day he could get someone with credentials interested enough to take a look. On the other line was Wilbur Tennant (played by Bill Camp), a cattle farmer from Parkersburg, W.V. ... How dying cows led to a $671M settlement – the story behind Freeman v. DuPont. Earl had sought help, but no one would step up. The sometimes contentious tenor of Bilott’s relationship with Wilbur Tennant is also true to life. Twenty years later, people today are still fighting and still getting diagnosed with cancer, Bilott said. Instead, the authors blamed Tennant’s “failure to provide the right supplements for the cattle” — a conclusion Mace repeated in court, adding, “They had pink eye and many other issues.”. It hasn’t stopped him from becoming a fierce advocate. Tennant had a problem. The muscle looked fine, but a thin, yellow liquid gathered in the cavity where it once beat. "I want other people to have hope and faith that they can take a shower, they can take a drink of water from their water source and [that will] be clean water, and they can lay their children on the carpet. ", In a statement to ABC News, DuPont said: "Nothing is more important than the safety of our employees and the communities in which we operate… This movie misrepresents things that happened years ago, including our history, our values and science. But even if they decide in Bartlett’s favor, or the company opts to settle the suits, the costs may not fall to DuPont. He walked there every day to count heads and check fences. Standing walleyed in an open field was a polled Hereford — red with a white face and floppy ears. Earl pulled on white gloves and pried open the cow’s mouth, probing her gums and teeth. When the cattle on Wilbur Earl Tennant’s farm began to mysteriously fall ill and die, he suspected it wasn’t what the animals were eating—it was what they were drinking.
Attached to it was a gallbladder that didn’t. ", "These chemicals don’t respect political boundaries. I’ll do something about it.”. As a father, he had watched his little girls splash around in its shallow ripples. His cattle now drank from its pools. The Intercept is a First Look Media Company. Wilbur Tennant shot this video in the late 1990s on his property in West Virginia. Thunderstorms occasionally swelled the creek so much that he couldn’t wade across it. Two weeks after he filmed the foamy water, Earl aimed the camcorder at one of his cows. He often walked through the woods shirtless and shoeless, his trousers rolled up, and he moved with an agile strength built by a lifetime of doing things like lifting calves over fences. “See how that’s all wallered down? But there’s been a breakthrough. It flowed through a corner of the three-hundred-acre farm, in a place Earl called “the holler.” A small valley cut between hillsides, the holler was where he moved the herd to graze throughout the summer. As a boy, he had cooled his bare feet in this creek. Facing years of litigation over the chemical and the possibility of federal regulation — and thus enormous cleanup liabilities — in July DuPont spun off its chemical division into a separate company called Chemours. ", In a statement to ABC News, DuPont said it does "not make the chemicals in question" and "agrees that further action needs to be taken." Only Time Will Tell, People Are Freaking Out About "Baby Yoda Genocide" — and They Have a Point, This Gorgeous Resort Serves as the Set for 'Holiday Baking Championship'. "They said, 'Don't get your hopes up. In the flames, a calf lay broadside, burning. It’s the voice of Rob Bilott, who just took a stand. They would nuzzle him as he scratched their heads. The problem, he thought, was not what they were eating but what they were drinking.
The tongue looked normal, but some of the teeth were coal black, interspersed with the white ones like piano keys. Earl had sought help, but no one would step up. The pipe flowed out of a collection pond at the low end of a landfill. Dry Run was less than a mile’s walk from the home place, across Lee Creek, through an open field, and along a pair of tire tracks. When he cut out the other lung, he noted dark purple splotches where they should have been fluffy and pink. Listen to an interview with Bilott about the chemical lawsuits on Science Friday. Black smoke curled into the daylight. In 1998, Wilbur Tennant, the farmer we see in the trailer, contacted Robert when he believed that poison in the water his cattle was drinking was responsible for killing 190 of his cows. "I have a keyhole pupil [and] limited vision in my right eye," he said. Without admitting wrongdoing, DuPont settled the class action lawsuit for $70 million, part of which funded a scientific study that eventually found a probable link between PFOA and diseases like testicular cancer, kidney cancer and thyroid disease -- a disease that Bucky Bailey's mother now suffers from. Marketplace is a division of MPR's 501 (c)(3). In the spring, he would run and catch the calves so his daughters could pet them. That’s all it takes to support the journalism you rely on. On the other line was Wilbur Tennant (played by Bill Camp), a cattle farmer from Parkersburg, W.V. Copyright © 2019 by Robert Bilott. “I fed her at least a gallon of grain a day. Concerningly, PFOA was not classified as a hazardous substance. Tennant ultimately settled with DuPont and the company admitted no wrongdoing. Another trial over the chemical, which for decades was used in the production of Teflon and many other products, is scheduled for November. In May 2019, 180 countries agreed to ban the production and use of PFOA. The spleen was thinner and whiter than any spleen he had come cross. At fifty-four, Earl was an imposing figure, six feet tall, lean and oxshouldered, with sandpaper hands and a permanent squint. Bilott was a one-man investigation force.
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