Environmental Groups, Others Oppose Renewal of ABC Coke Air Emissions Permit

The Jefferson County Department of Health will have hearings Thursday on a proposed renewal of the air emissions permit for ABC Coke in Tarrant.
(Source: Sherrel Wheeler Stewart, WBHM 90.3 FM )

The Jefferson County Department of Health has received 10 public comments about the proposed renewal of the air emissions permit for ABC Coke, an industrial plant in Tarrant.  Most of the comments since August opposed renewing the company’s air emissions permit, according to the health department.

The Title V operating permit regulates air emissions coming from the facility.

This Thursday, the agency will have two public hearings to receive more feedback.

Those will be at at 10 a.m. and at 7 p.m at the Jefferson County Department of Health on 6th Avenue South.

ABC Coke, a Drummond Company, produces coke for use at its plant. The plant is one of several industries along a corridor through north Birmingham and Tarrant. Environmental groups have raised concerns about air pollution there for decades.

GASP, an environmental watchdog group, launched an online petition to oppose the permit renewal in August. GASP says the plant produces harmful carcinogens and pollutants that largely affect poor and minority communities.

But denying the permit renewal would be an “extreme event,” a spokeswoman with the health department says.  It could happen if a “facility were to submit obviously false or grossly incomplete information.”

After the public hearing, the health department will respond to the comments and revise the permit if needed. The information will be sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for review before a permit is issued.

Companies with air emissions are required to apply for new permits every four to five years, health department officials say.