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Oak Creek neighbors concerned about coal dust after fence damaged outside coal plant

NOW: Oak Creek neighbors concerned about coal dust after fence damaged outside coal plant

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OAK CREEK, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Oak Creek neighbors are asking questions Thursday, about when a fence outside a pair of We Energies coal plants will be repaired.

Two years ago, CBS 58 reported after winds blew coal dust into a nearby neighborhood, affecting homes, cars and a playground. 

We Energies spokesperson Brendan Conway said the company put up trees and the fence last year outside the plants. He said the fence is meant to slow down the wind and prevent the coal from getting into the neighborhood.

Recent high winds and ice caused several panels of the fence to be damaged, but Conway said the fence itself is still intact.

"The good news is that because of what happened, [there is] zero impact to any of the coal piles there. We obviously understand neighbors' concerns. We're incredibly sensitive to them, but the good news is -- and everyone should be aware of -- there is no evidence at all that any coal dust has left that site since nearly two years ago," he said.

Greg Millard, who lives in the neighborhood near the plants, said he does have concerns dust could become a problem again.

"I took a walk up there and looked at [the fence], sees in a couple panels down ... and that’s a concern to me and the neighbors," Millard said.

We Energies had crews out repairing the fence Thursday. Conway said there is no set timeline of when the damage will be fixed, but said it will likely take days -- not weeks or months -- to fix.

On Thursday night the environmental group "Clean Power Coalition" is screening a documentary about neighbors' struggles over the years living near the plant. There will also be a panel made up of neighbors.

Conway said We Energies was not included in the film. The coalition said it would be "inappropriate" to include the company in a film about the neighbors from the neighbors' perspective.

The documentary is screening at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the River Bend Nature Center in Racine.

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