By Associated Press - Tuesday, February 7, 2017

UNIONTOWN, Ala. (AP) - The owner of a landfill in a small Alabama city has dropped a defamation lawsuit filed against residents who used social media to voice their opposition to the disposing of coal ash at the site.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which defended the landfill opponents in Unionville, announced Tuesday that a settlement had been reached in U.S. District Court.

Georgia-based Green Group Holdings sued four Unionville residents last year claiming the company was defamed by Facebook posts that said the company “neglects laws,” was responsible for “desecrating a black cemetery” and used its landfill to “leak toxins into rivers, streams, and groundwater.” The company sought $30 million in damages.

In a statement, Green Group said it appreciates residents’ “First Amendment right to engage in speech on matters of public concern.”

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