HINKLEY (CBSLA.com) — Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has offered to buy hundreds of homes and relocate the families after their plant polluted the groundwater of Hinkley.

Countless residents described getting serious illnesses over time.

Greg Mills, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, said that more than 200 homeowners are in negotiation with PG&E.

Hinkley is in the high desert, just outside Barstow. It’s the town made famous in the movie “Erin Brockovich.”

Mills spoke to Dee and Bob Peabody, hard-working husband and wife ranchers. Bob says, “We’re out in the country. We’ve got our horses.”

The couple moved to Hinkley 45 years ago to raise their sons — and their horses —  in the great outdoors

Bob says, “I’m 75. I intended to live the rest of my life here. But now that the water is bad…”

Actually, Mills corrects, the water has been bad for years.

PG&E admits they are responsible for dangerous levels of chromium 6 — a known carcinogen — in the groundwater supply.

Peabody feels awful about having to leave his home behind. “To me its a tragedy. This should’ve never happened.”

PG&E says they are doing everything they can to help residents. They’re bringing in bottled water. And they’ve offered to buy homes and relocate people.

Peabody adds, “I don’t really relish it. I’ve got a lot of friends here that I’ve known for many years. To me, this is home.”

Mills spoke to a number of homeowners planning on selling their homes, but many told him they didn’t think PG&E was offering a fair price.

If the relocation plan goes through, the town will lose two-thirds of its population.

There is concern with so few people to populate the town, the school and post office will be shut down.

Mills spoke to many residents who planned on high-tailing it out of California.

Dee and Bob Peabody have their hearts set on Apple Valley or Hesperia. Mills reports when the Peabody’s do move, horses Darlin’ and Rebel are going with them. After all, Bob says, they’re part of the family.


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