2008 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2008 08:27:56 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] Maranatha Faith Center, Columbus, Mississippi
Legal, fiscal woes leave Tronox future uncertain

by Janice Francis-Smith
The Journal Record (OK)
November 4, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY - The problem with Tronox’s future is its past.
In 1999, the members of Maranatha Faith Center in Columbus, Miss., decided to expand their church. Led by the Rev. Steve Jamison, the burgeoning church in a small, predominantly African-American community made use of a bond issue to get the money for construction, which was expected to be repaid with donations from the higher attendance the new church would be able to attract.

But when construction began, they found large amounts of creosote under the dirt. Creosote is a wood preservative that may cause irritation of the skin and the respiratory tract, chemical burns of the surfaces of the eyes, mental confusion, kidney or liver problems, and even death in cases of direct contact. Construction stopped. The church filed a lawsuit against Kerr-McGee in 2000, alleging the creosote contamination came from the company’s plant next door.

Kerr-McGee closed the plant in 2003, but the lawsuit continues – though now Maranatha’s fight is with Tronox, the chemical company Kerr-McGee spun off into a separate entity in 2006.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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