Tag: air pollution

Residents and Activists Oppose ABC Coke Air Permit

Jimmy Smith, an 86-year-old Collegeville retiree, held an 8×10 framed photograph of his four daughters in his hand when he stood Thursday to ask the Jefferson County Department of Health not to renew an air emissions permit for ABC Coke.

He says his oldest daughter died of cancer and another daughter gets cancer treatments twice a month. He’s also a cancer survivor and a survivor of a community he says has been plagued with pollution for years.

“Y’all can deny this permit, and I promise you they will get the message. They will clean up their act,” he says. Read more.

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

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 10 a.m. and at 7 p.m at the Jefferson County Department of Health on 6th Avenue South. Read more.

UPDATED: Advisory Panel, JeffCo Air Pollution Expert Take on Controversial Role at EPA

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has appointed a Jefferson County air pollution expert to the seven-member panel charged with giving the agency administrator independent technical advice for setting federal standards under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler named Corey M. Masuca, principal air pollution control engineer for the Jefferson County Department of Health, to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee on Oct. 10. The CASAC will lead a review of recent science to advise whether any changes are necessary to the standards for ground-level ozone or particulate matter to provide public health with an adequate margin of safety.

That panel may take on added importance with the EPA’s move last week to dismiss two larger outside advisory panels of scientists who were to evaluate emissions for harmful public health effects. Read more.

Former State Lawmaker Sentenced to 33 Months in Prison

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced former Alabama Rep. Oliver Robinson to 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a bribery scheme to block the expansion of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cleanup site in North Birmingham and Tarrant.

Robinson pleaded guilty to encouraging residents not to have their soil tested for contaminants in exchange for bribes. He also diverted money from his campaign account and nonprofit account for personal use.

After pleading guilty, he cooperated with federal prosecutors in investigations that led to the conviction of former Balch & Bingham attorney Joel Gilbert and David Roberson, a Drummond Company executive. They are scheduled for sentencing Oct. 23.

“Robinson betrayed his constituents and neighbors in north Birmingham and Tarrant, selling his elected office to special interests for personal profit,” Jay Town, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District, said in a statement Thursday. “An elected official can scarcely commit a more egregious crime.” Read more.

County’s Major Air Polluters Concentrated in Low-Income, Minority Neighborhoods

BirminghamWatch Graphic: Clay Carey

 

The Oliver Robinson bribery trial, in which guilty verdicts were issued for officials of Drummond Coal Co. and its law firm, Balch & Bingham, revealed a gritty episode about avoiding environmental cleanup in North Birmingham. But there’s a bigger dirty picture.

The vast majority of Jefferson County’s 31 major sources of pollution – those emitting enough pollution to require a permit under Title V of the Clean Air Act – are located in low-income areas, a BirminghamWatch analysis found.

The findings show 71 percent of the major pollution sources are in areas with incomes below the median income for the county.

Only one primary source of pollution is in a neighborhood with a median household income greater than 110 percent of the county median.

Residents of the same low-income areas also often are largely African American. Research has shown that economically depressed populations can be more heavily affected by the negative health effects of air pollution.

Poor air does not equally strike everyone in the Birmingham area, raising issues of environmental justice. Read more.