‘It’s Time for Pruitt to Resign, or Be Removed’

‘It’s Time for Pruitt to Resign, or Be Removed’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT:
Adam Beitman, adam.beitman@sierraclub.org or 202-670-5585

NAACP, SEIU, Union of Concerned Scientists, Physicians for Social Responsibility, OCEANA & More Take out Full Page Ads in the New York Times, New York Post, and Oklahoma’s Largest Newspaper.

NEW YORK CITY (April 18, 2018)— Forty national civil rights, labor, conservation and environmental organizations representing millions of members and supporters across the United States have taken out a series of full page ads Wednesday calling for the resignation or firing of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. On Monday, the Government Accountability Office reported that some of Pruitt’s behavior violates the law.

The ads appear in the main news sections of The New York Times, the New York Post (which Donald Trump receives each day), and the largest newspaper in Pruitt’s home state of Oklahoma, The Oklahoman.

** Link to the Ad **

These new nationwide organizations calling for Pruitt’s ouster add to a growing chorus, including:

  • Editorial boards ranging from The Houston Chronicle and The Joplin Globe to The Washington Post and The LA Times
  • Over 100 Democrats in the House & Senate
  • At least three Republican members of the House
  • Increasing public pressure from other Republicans including House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy who suggested Pruitt should become ‘a monk’ if he wanted to avoid having his feelings hurt, rather than taking first class flights at taxpayer expense.

THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS ARE REPRESENTED ON THE LETTER:

National Audubon Society – NAACP – Union of Concerned Scientists – SEIU – Physicians for Social Responsibility – Oceana – Sierra Club – Earthjustice – Green For All – Natural Resources Defense Council – League of Conservation Voters – Hip Hop Caucus – GreenLatinos – Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Ocean Conservancy – The Wilderness Society – National Parks Conservation Association – Clean Water Action – Greenpeace USA – American Rivers – Defenders of Wildlife – Environment America – Moms Clean Air Force – Latino Victory Project – Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments – Oil Change International – Montana Environmental Information Center – Alliance for Climate Education – Brighter Green – Partnership for Policy Integrity – Gasp – SustainUS – Carmelite NGO – Alliance for Affordable Energy – Power Shift Network – Rhode Island Interfaith Power & Light – iMatter Youth – Elders Climate Action – Green the Church – Climate Wise Women – Friends of the Earth

SIGNATORY ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS:

SEIU, Executive Vice President Luisa Blue:

“Scott Pruitt’s extravagant spending of the public’s money makes crystal clear what we already know from his policies: he just doesn’t care about the American people. As the largest union of healthcare workers, SEIU members care for people with asthma, cancer and others who have been impacted by the environment. Pruitt’s actions to pull back environmental protections will quicken the devastating impact of climate change, putting the profits of polluting corporations ahead of the health and safety of our families. Pruitt’s actions are an attack on SEIU members and their families who live in communities that already struggle for clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.”

Union of Concerned Scientists, President Ken Kimmell:

“While Scott Pruitt clearly violated ethical standards and bilked taxpayers, he inflicted far worse injury on our children, families, and communities by sidelining science and abandoning the EPA’s public health and environmental mission.”

Latino Victory Project, President Cristóbal J. Alex:

“Scott Pruitt wasted taxpayers’ dollars on luxury travel and soundproof phone booths while cutting vital EPA programs, directly hurting Latinos across the United States. Latinos live on the front lines of the climate change crisis, with half of all U.S. Latinos living in the country’s most polluted cities and Latino children at greater risk of dying from asthma than white children. The job of the EPA Administrator is to protect our natural resources and the health of all Americans, and Pruitt is clearly not up to the task.”

Earthjustice, President Trip Van Noppen

“Beyond his mounting ethical lapses Scott Pruitt has made it his mission to dismantle the many safeguards Americans depend on for clean water, clean air and more with little respect of the law. Scott Pruitt needs to go and until then we will see him in court.”

GreenLatinos, President Mark Magana

“Instead of doing his job to protect our health and environment – especially in marginalized communities and communities of color – Scott Pruitt has wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on luxury travel and unapproved pay raises for close aides, and has become the subject of multiple independent government investigations. He has endangered our communities with reckless rollbacks and repeals of lifesaving health safeguards, making our air dirtier and our water more dangerous to drink. He’s putting families at risk, and it’s been time for him to resign.”

Ocean Conservancy, CEO Janis Searles Jones

“In the 14 months that he’s been EPA Administrator, Pruitt has intentionally and methodically dismantled protections for our ocean, clean water and clean air. Among his many misguided decisions, he’s proposed a budget that would completely eliminate essential EPA functions including keeping our beaches safe from pathogens, monitoring contaminants in the fish we eat and gutting the marine pollution program. It’s time for Scott Pruitt to go. We cannot afford an EPA administrator who actively undermines the health of our ocean.”

Clean Water Action, President Bob Wendelgass:

“When Scott Pruitt isn’t doing everything he can to try to weaken protections for clean water and public health, he’s wasting taxpayer money or flouting the rules to pad the pockets of his friends and protect the bottom lines of corporate polluters. His destructive agenda and his corrupt behavior go hand-in-hand — he thinks he can get away with both if he keeps giving special interests what they want. It’s dangerous behavior from a public official and it has to stop. Scott Pruitt needs to go.”

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Jeff Carter

“As a public official, Scott Pruitt has shown a lot more interest in whatever perks and advantages he can extract from his position than in advancing the mission of the agency he was tasked to run. He attacks environmental rules and regulations with a prosecutor’s zeal, but with a view of the law not as an instrument of justice, but as a card in a stacked deck, designed to further empower and enrich special interests at the expense of health, the environment, and the less powerful.”

Hip Hop Caucus, Rev Lennox Yearwood Jr., President & CEO

“Pruitt puts his ego and polluter profits over people. It’s outrageous that he thinks he can waste our taxpayer dollars with no consequences. What’s even more tragic is that he continues to roll the dice with our lives. His actions continue to undermine our health and the future of the planet. He needs to go now.”

National Parks Conservation Association, President & CEO Theresa Pierno:

“From day one, Scott Pruitt has demonstrated time and again that his goal is not to hold
the very polluters jeopardizing our air, waters and national parks accountable, but instead to protect them. The Environmental Protection Agency should do just that—protect the environment. The agency, and all it was created to safeguard, deserves a leader befitting of this critical work. As we feared at his confirmation, and as he has shown in the time since, Scott Pruitt is not that person.”

Sierra Club, Executive Director Michael Brune:

“Scott Pruitt is the definition of the swamp, with new ethical and abuse of power scandals breaking virtually every day for the past two weeks. Its past time for Pruitt to resign or be fired, particularly now that some of his most absurd actions are being ruled illegal. Every day Scott Pruitt stays at the EPA is another day he embarasses Donald Trump, and our entire country.”

Natural Resources Defense Council, President Rhea Suh:

“With each new investigation, Scott Pruitt’s disregard for ethics and the rule of law is becoming increasingly egregious and unacceptable. And so is his blatant hostility to the central mission of the EPA, which is to protect public health and the environment. Enough is enough. It’s time for him to go.’”

Greenpeace USA, Executive Director Annie Leonard

“Scott Pruitt’s brazen disrespect for both the environment and our democracy is beyond offensive–it’s one of the most catastrophic consequences of the Trump administration. Scott Pruitt is insulting every person in America by living a life of luxury on the taxpayer’s dime while committed to destroying our environment, our air, our water, and our climate. It’s time for Scott Pruitt to resign, or be fired, before he does any more damage to our country.”

iMatter Youth, Maddie Adkins, Core Team:

“Future generations will have to deal with the consequences of climate change. If the administrator of the EPA cannot be trusted to make decisions that will preserve the planet and protect the futures of our country’s youth, then he needs to go.”
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Executive Director Katie Huffling

“As a public health agency, the EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. In his tenure at the EPA, Scott Pruitt has rolled back essential public health safeguards, which are putting communities at risk for negative health impacts from climate change and exposures to dirty air and water. The communities and families nurses care for deserve an EPA Administrator who is committed to putting public health first. Pruitt is not that person.”

SustainUS, Executive Coordinator Garrett Blad:

“As a public official, Scott Pruitt is trusted to protect the common good. Instead, he is doing everything in his power to damage the lives of young people in this country by handing federal regulating over to fossil fuel executives and lobbyists, giving out bonuses to his friends, and wasting public money to play by his own rules. Scott Pruitt cannot be trusted to safeguard our health or our nation’s democratic principles and should be removed. ”

Montana Environmental Information Center, Deputy Director Anne Hedges

”Scott Pruitt is making Montana’s pollution problems worse. In places such as Colstrip, Montana there are 800 acres of leaking coal ash ponds that have polluted ground and surface waters. The passage of the federal coal ash rule by the Obama Administration was a welcome relief and promised to finally get a handle on the problem in Montana and across the nation. Now Pruitt is trying to undo that rule and put polluters in the driver’s seat – the same polluters who caused the problem in the first place. It’s unconscionable, but that seems to be Pruitt’s middle name. This is just one example of many. He is unethical, imprudent, and more concerned about protecting polluters than public health. It’s time to draw the line.”

Gasp, Executive Director Michael Hansen:

“Scott Pruitt cannot be trusted to lead the agency tasked with protecting our air, land, water, and health. Time and again, he has shown himself to be openly hostile to healthy air, clean water, and basic science. By undermining public health safeguards and undoing critical environmental protections, Scott Pruitt has put all of us at increased risk for cancers, asthma, lung disease, and other illnesses. Pruitt should never have been put in charge of the EPA, and we now have ample evidence to prove it. Scott Pruitt has to go.”

Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife:

“Wildlife rely on clean water, clean air and a balanced ecosystem for their survival. Scott Pruitt’s policies at the EPA threaten all of these. He has dismantled environmental protections and abused his position as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s time for Scott Pruitt and his policies to go.”

###

RELATED: Tell your Senators and Representative that you agree, Scott Pruitt Must Go!

Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Morning Digest

Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Morning Digest

This is the last Monday Morning Digest for 2018 as the session wrapped up last Thursday. I hope these posts have been informative and helpful. Below is the final rundown of bills this session:

Enrolled Bills

  • HB40: Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gas
  • HB53: Repeal Ala. Code 22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund (COMPANION BILL SB 122)
  • SB33: Amend Ala. Code 29-2-270 to 29-2-275: Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy: this bill would revise the membership of the committee, delete the requirement that the committee complete the Alabama Energy Plan, limit the reporting of the committee, delete authorization for the committee to create and staff a Legislative Energy Policy Office, would authorize the committee to form advisory committees as needed.
  • HB190: Transportation network companies, Public Service Commission permit required to operate, minimum requirements imposed
  • SB85: Creates the Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund
  • SB180: Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels (COMPANION BILL TO HB224)

 

 

Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Morning Digest

Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Morning Digest

I am doubling up this week and catching you up on the past two weeks of bills that affect health and the environment in Alabama during the 2018 legislative session.

Signed into law this week

HB53 was delivered to the Governor at 1:06 PM on March 22, 2018. Existing law requires $500,000 to be transferred annually from fees collected for the disposal of hazardous waste into the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust, to be used by public institutions of higher learning for funding environmental research and education relating to hazardous waste production and disposal. This bill abolishes the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund.

SB33 was delivered to the Governor at 4:34 PM on March 21, 2018. Under existing law, the Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy was created to develop the Alabama Energy Plan and to make recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature to address the state’s long-term and short-term energy challenges. This bill removes the requirement that the Alabama Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy develop the Alabama Energy Plan and instead requires that the committee recommend courses of action to the Governor and Legislature to address Alabama’s energy challenges. The bill authorizes the committee to only receive federal grants and other funds related to energy initiatives with no funds from the state; reduces the number of committee members from 17 to 13; provides that the committee shall meet at least once every six months; and allows the committee to meet by means of telephone conference, video conference, or similar communications provided that a majority of a quorum is physically present at the meeting location presented in the notice. This bill deletes authorization for the committee to create and staff a Legislative Energy Policy Office, and would authorize the committee to form advisory subcommittees as needed, removing requirement for including members of the public.

New bills

SB395 was introduced into the Senate on March 15th and is pending its third reading. You can read more in the table below, but this is another bill that has to do with shoreline restoration.

SB370 was introduced on March 6th and hasn’t had any movement since. You can read more in the table below, but this bill would propose an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that the Forever Wild Land Trust may not acquire property in a county having a population of 20,000 or less if the property held by the trust in the county exceeds or will exceed 11,000 acres unless the purchase of the property by the Forever Wild Land Trust is approved by the county commission of the county. It would apply to the following counties which currently fit the population cutoff.

Movement on bills

SB180 passed the House on March 22nd.

Bill No.SponsorSummaryCommitteeStatus
HB5Hanes (R)

Whorton

Amending Ala. Code 40-8-140: provide income tax refund check off to state parks, Dep’t of Mental Health and MedicaidWays & Means General Fund·        2/20: passes House
HB40South (R)Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gasTransportation, Utilities and Infrastructure·        3/1: delivered to the Governor

·        2/27: passes Senate

·        2/15: pending third reading

·        2/8: moves to the Senate referred to committee (Transportation and Energy)

·        2/8: passes in House

HB53Johnson ®Repeal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL SB 122

Ways & Means General Fund·        3/22: delivered to the Governor

·        2/8: moves to Senate and referred to committee (Finance and Taxation General Fund)

·        2/6: passes in House

HB58Drake (R)Amend Ala. Code § 9-14-8: Create Park for Patriots Act of 2018. Adds in active, Alabama residentMilitary & Veterans Affairs·        2/22: enrolled in House

·        2/15: passes Senate

·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/16: moves to the Senate, referred to committee (Veterans and Military Affairs)

·        1/16: passes in House

HB78Johnson ®Propose local amendment for Coosa County to additional payments from the Alabama

Trust Fund to the Forever Wild Land Trust to reimburse Coosa County for lost ad valorem tax

payments as a result of the acquisition of property

by the Forever Wild Land Trust.

Local Legislation·        1/25: third reading, carried over to Call of the Chair (voice vote adopted)
HB113Johnson (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees

COMPANION BILL SB48

Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure 
HB217Morrow (D)Amend Ala. Code 22-22A-6, to change the qualifications of that the Environmental Management Commission of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management so that a geologist may serve as a member of the commission.Boards, Agencies and Commissions 
HB224South (R)Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANTION BILL SB180

Health·        2/8: moves to Senate and referred to committee (Health & Human Services)

·        2/8: passes House

HB362Tuggle ®This bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would require the Forever Wild Land Trust to annually reimburse the amount of ad valorem tax revenue lost as a result of property previously subject to ad valorem tax being acquired by the Forever Wild Land Trust, which monies shall be paid to the county tax official in each county where the property has been acquired and distributed as other ad valorem tax proceeds unless the county opts out. The amount of reimbursement would be the amount as if the property was taxed at current use value of the property as forest property with good productivity. The bill would also provide that if funding for the Forever Wild Land Trust is not continued after September 30, 2032, the Forever Wild Land Stewardship Account would receive up to $1,000,000 from the Alabama Trust Fund annually.State Government·        3/1: lost in House

·        2/8: pending 3rd reading, state government introduced amendment

HB370Davis(R)This bill would further provide for permits for shoreline restoration, including the use of living shoreline techniques, by riparian property owners in coastal areas. The bill would authorize riparian property owners to sever and use materials in their riparian rights use area and for the purposes of shoreline restoration without fee or charge by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or the Department of Environmental Management when the source sediment is used for the construction of living shorelines in front of a property owner’s r’parian property.Agriculture and Forestry·        3/8: Committee offers first substitute
HB408Ingram (R)Amend Ala. Code sections 22-37A-2, 22-37A-3, 22-37A-4, 22-37A-5, 22-37A-6, and 22-37A-7: This bill would amend the Alabama Lead Reduction Act to add definitions, increase regulations relating to lead hazard reductions, increase the authority of the Department of Public Health to conduct lead inspections and enforce the act, and increase penalties for violations of the act.Health·        2/18: introduced in House
HB422Sessions (R)This bill would provide the procedure for

depositing of material from the dredging of the inlets of this state.

Agriculture & Forestry·        2/15: introduced in House
SB33Ward (R)Amend Ala. Code 29-2-270 to 29-2-275: Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy: this bill would revise the membership of the committee, delete the requirement that the committee complete the Alabama Energy Plan, limit the reporting of the committee, delete authorization for the committee to create and staff a Legislative Energy Policy Office, would authorize the committee to form advisory committees as needed.Transportation & Energy·        3/21: delivered to Governor

·        2/1: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/25: Moves to the House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

·        1/23: Passes Senate

SB48Pittman (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees.

COMPANION BILL HB113

Finance and Taxation General Fund·        3/1: passes House, rules committee makes an amendment

·        1/23: moves to House (referred to committee on Ways & Means General Fund)

·        1/23: passes Senate

SB75Bussman (R)®er the Sunset Law, provides for the continuance of the Surface Mining Commission until October 1, 2022

SB 134 RELATED

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development·        2/1: passes House, assigned Act No.. 2018-74

·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

·        1/16: passes Senate

SB122Sanford (R)Repeal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL HB53

Finance and Taxation General Fund·        2/15: pending third reading in the House

·        2/6: moves to the House and referred to committee (Ways & Means General Fund)

·        2/6: passes Senate

SB134Bussman ®Remove the Surface Mining Commission from the sunset review process

RELATED TO SB75

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

·        1/16: Passes Senate

SB180Bussman ®Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANION BILL TO HB224

Health and Human Services·        3/22: passes House

·        2/1: moves to House and referred to committee (Health)

·        2/1: passes Senate

SB268Allen (R)Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gas

COMPANION BILL TO HB40

Transportation and Energy 
SB273Scofield (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-22A-6, to change the qualifications of that the Environmental Management Commission of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management so that a geologist may serve as a member of the commission.

COMPANION BILL TO HB217

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry·        3/6: read for the first time in the House

·        3/6: Passes senate

SB289Ward (R)Amend Ala. Code 37-8-52 and 37-8-5-3: increase distance to 10 feet in which one can operate tools, machinery, or equipment, or move a building within [six feet] of a high voltage overhead conductor of electricity unless certain safeguards are in place.Transportation and Energy·        2/15: pending third reading in the Senate
SB370Chambliss (R)This bill would propose an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that the Forever Wild Land Trust may not acquire property in a county having a population of 20,000 or less if the property held by the trust in the county exceeds or will exceed 11,000 acres unless the purchase of the property by the Forever Wild Land Trust is approved by the county commission of the county. It would apply to the following counties which currently fit the population cutoffCounty and Municipal Government·        3/6: introduced in Senate
SB395Albritton (R)This bill would further provide for permits for shoreline restoration, including the use of living shoreline techniques, by riparian property owners in coastal areas. The bill would authorize riparian property owners to sever and use materials in their riparian rights use area and for the purposes of shoreline restoration without fee or charge by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or the Department of Environmental Management when the source sediment is used for the construction of living shorelines in front of a property owner’s riparian property.Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry·        3/15: introduced in Senate
Public Transportation
HB10Williams (Jack) (R)Alabama Public Transportation Act. Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund, established, ADECA required to administer trust fund; Public Transportation Trust Fund Advisory Committee, created. ADECA must adopt rules, make annual reports, conduct a public transportation needs assessment, enter into contracts, conduct audits and award grants.Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure 
HB25Pringle (R)Amend Ala. Code 23-1-21 and 23-1-21.2: establish a State Transportation Commission (and requirements and duties thereof)Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure 
HB97Faulkner (R)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO SB65

Commerce and Small Business 
HB190Faulkner (R)Transportation network companies, Public Service Commission permit required to operate, minimum requirements imposedCommerce and Small Business·        2/15: sent to the Governor (amendment offered)

·        2/8: pending third reading in the Senate and amendment offered

·        1/30: moves to Senate

·        1/30: amendments made by Coleman & Givan and co-sponsors (Garrett, Williams (JD), Fridy, Shiver, Faust, Ainsworth, Pettus, Mooney & Drake) and passes house

SB65Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB143

Transportation and EnergyNo movement on this bill since first read: but, SB143 is co-sponsored with Marsh and is identical
SB85Smitherman (D)Creates the Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund

*isn’t noted but seems like companion bill to HB10

Transportation and Energy·        2/27: passes House and forward to the Governor

·        2/20: passes House

·        2/1: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/25: Moves to House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

·        1/25: Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 148

SB143Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB65

Tourism and Marketing·        1/25: Passes Senate with substitute by Singleton
UAB Students Conduct Mini Air Quality Study

UAB Students Conduct Mini Air Quality Study

Hello! We are Team Leggo My Eggo 11’s, and through our Environmental Factors of Public Health class at UAB, we had the unique opportunity to work with Gasp on a service learning project. Gasp provided us with an air monitor, called an AirBeam, which allowed us to conduct mini air quality studies to determine the air quality in different parts of Birmingham. The AirBeam measures particulate matter, which is tiny particles in the air that are 30 times smaller than hair (4 times smaller than pollen). With our data, we assisted Gasp and also learned about the reality of the air quality of our environment.

Based on our knowledge that, historically, North Birmingham has poorer air quality, we wanted to compare it to an area with expected good air quality, such as a more rural area. Therefore, our hypothesis was that the air quality in North Birmingham Park (North Birmingham) would be lower than that of Ruffner Mountain (East Birmingham).

We used the AirBeam for two hours each at both locations to gather air quality data. Below are the readings for North Birmingham Park and Ruffner Mountain.

Ruffner Mountain

North Birmingham Park

The colors on the maps indicate the air quality: green is good; yellow is moderate; orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups; red is unhealthy.

The maps show a broad view of the air quality in both locations, but a more precise reading of air quality was taken at every second over the span of 2 hours by the AirBeam. This data was downloaded as an Excel sheet, and we were able to calculate the average particulate matter reading.

Site​

Average Particulate Matter Reading​

EPA Air Quality Index Rank​

Ruffner Mountain (East Birmingham)​

33.56​

Good​

North Birmingham Park (North Birmingham)​

64.50​

Moderate​

Our service learning project with Gasp allowed us to become citizen scientists—getting involved with public research and sharing our findings with others. We were able to collect data on particulate matter in North Birmingham and East Birmingham, which also allowed us to compare their particulate matter levels.

Through citizen science, we had the opportunity to do relevant research in our community, enhancing our knowledge about our environment and giving us the hope that we can improve our surroundings.

Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Digest

Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Digest

Not much movement or activity last week, but there are a few public hearings this week.

SB273 passed the Senate and was read for the first time in the House.

The Agriculture and Forestry Committee offered the first substitute to HB370.

Hearings this week are as follows:

  • SB273: March 14th at 3:00 PM
  • HB5: March 14th at 9:30 AM
  • HB53: March 14th at 9:30 AM
Bill No.SponsorSummaryCommitteeStatus
HB5Hanes (R)

Whorton

Amending Ala. Code 40-8-140: provide income tax refund check off to state parks, Dep’t of Mental Health and MedicaidWays & Means General Fund·        2/20: passes House
HB40South (R)Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gasTransportation, Utilities and Infrastructure·        3/1: delivered to the Governor

·        2/27: passes Senate

·        2/15: pending third reading

·        2/8: moves to the Senate referred to committee (Transportation and Energy)

·        2/8: passes in House

HB53Johnson ®Repeal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL SB 122

Ways & Means General Fund·        2/8: moves to Senate and referred to committee (Finance and Taxation General Fund)

·        2/6: passes in House

HB58Drake (R)Amend Ala. Code § 9-14-8: Create Park for Patriots Act of 2018. Adds in active, Alabama residentMilitary & Veterans Affairs·        2/22: enrolled in House

·        2/15: passes Senate

·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/16: moves to the Senate, referred to committee (Veterans and Military Affairs)

·        1/16: passes in House

HB78Johnson ®Propose local amendment for Coosa County to additional payments from the Alabama

Trust Fund to the Forever Wild Land Trust to reimburse Coosa County for lost ad valorem tax

payments as a result of the acquisition of property

by the Forever Wild Land Trust.

Local Legislation·        1/25: third reading, carried over to Call of the Chair (voice vote adopted)
HB113Johnson (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees

COMPANION BILL SB48

Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure 
HB217Morrow (D)Amend Ala. Code 22-22A-6, to change the qualifications of that the Environmental Management Commission of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management so that a geologist may serve as a member of the commission.Boards, Agencies and Commissions 
HB224South (R)Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANTION BILL SB180

Health·        2/8: moves to Senate and referred to committee (Health & Human Services)

·        2/8: passes House

HB362Tuggle ®This bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would require the Forever Wild Land Trust to annually reimburse the amount of ad valorem tax revenue lost as a result of property previously subject to ad valorem tax being acquired by the Forever Wild Land Trust, which monies shall be paid to the county tax official in each county where the property has been acquired and distributed as other ad valorem tax proceeds unless the county opts out. The amount of reimbursement would be the amount as if the property was taxed at current use value of the property as forest property with good productivity. The bill would also provide that if funding for the Forever Wild Land Trust is not continued after September 30, 2032, the Forever Wild Land Stewardship Account would receive up to $1,000,000 from the Alabama Trust Fund annually.State Government·        3/1: lost in House

·        2/8: pending 3rd reading, state government introduced amendment

HB370Davis(R)This bill would further provide for permits for shoreline restoration, including the use of living shoreline techniques, by riparian property owners in coastal areas. The bill would authorize riparian property owners to sever and use materials in their riparian rights use area and for the purposes of shoreline restoration without fee or charge by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or the Department of Environmental Management when the source sediment is used for the construction of living shorelines in front of a property owner’s r’parian property.Agriculture and Forestry·        3/8: Committee offers first substitute
HB408Ingram (R)Amend Ala. Code sections 22-37A-2, 22-37A-3, 22-37A-4, 22-37A-5, 22-37A-6, and 22-37A-7: This bill would amend the Alabama Lead Reduction Act to add definitions, increase regulations relating to lead hazard reductions, increase the authority of the Department of Public Health to conduct lead inspections and enforce the act, and increase penalties for violations of the act.Health·        2/18: introduced in House
HB422Sessions (R)This bill would provide the procedure for

depositing of material from the dredging of the inlets of this state.

Agriculture & Forestry·        2/15: introduced in House
SB33Ward (R)Amend Ala. Code 29-2-270 to 29-2-275: Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy: this bill would revise the membership of the committee, delete the requirement that the committee complete the Alabama Energy Plan, limit the reporting of the committee, delete authorization for the committee to create and staff a Legislative Energy Policy Office, would authorize the committee to form advisory committees as needed.Transportation & Energy·        2/1: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/25: Moves to the House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

·        1/23: Passes Senate

SB48Pittman (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees.

COMPANION BILL HB113

Finance and Taxation General Fund·        3/1: passes House, rules committee makes an amendment

·        1/23: moves to House (referred to committee on Ways & Means General Fund)

·        1/23: passes Senate

SB75Bussman (R)®er the Sunset Law, provides for the continuance of the Surface Mining Commission until October 1, 2022

SB 134 RELATED

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development·        2/1: passes House, assigned Act No.. 2018-74

·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

·        1/16: passes Senate

SB122Sanford (R)Repeal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL HB53

Finance and Taxation General Fund·        2/15: pending third reading in the House

·        2/6: moves to the House and referred to committee (Ways & Means General Fund)

·        2/6: passes Senate

SB134Bussman ®Remove the Surface Mining Commission from the sunset review process

RELATED TO SB75

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

·        1/16: Passes Senate

SB180Bussman ®Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANION BILL TO HB224

Health and Human Services·        2/1: moves to House and referred to committee (Health)

·        2/1: passes Senate

SB268Allen (R)Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gas

COMPANION BILL TO HB40

Transportation and Energy 
SB273Scofield (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-22A-6, to change the qualifications of that the Environmental Management Commission of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management so that a geologist may serve as a member of the commission.

COMPANION BILL TO HB217

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry·        3/6: read for the first time in the House

·        3/6: Passes senate

SB289Ward (R)Amend Ala. Code 37-8-52 and 37-8-5-3: increase distance to 10 feet in which one can operate tools, machinery, or equipment, or move a building within [six feet] of a high voltage overhead conductor of electricity unless certain safeguards are in place.Transportation and Energy·        2/15: pending third reading in the Senate
Public Transportation
HB10Williams (Jack) (R)Alabama Public Transportation Act. Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund, established, ADECA required to administer trust fund; Public Transportation Trust Fund Advisory Committee, created. ADECA must adopt rules, make annual reports, conduct a public transportation needs assessment, enter into contracts, conduct audits and award grants.Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure 
HB25Pringle (R)Amend Ala. Code 23-1-21 and 23-1-21.2: establish a State Transportation Commission (and requirements and duties thereof)Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure 
HB97Faulkner (R)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO SB65

Commerce and Small Business 
HB190Faulkner (R)Transportation network companies, Public Service Commission permit required to operate, minimum requirements imposedCommerce and Small Business·        2/15: sent to the Governor (amendment offered)

·        2/8: pending third reading in the Senate and amendment offered

·        1/30: moves to Senate

·        1/30: amendments made by Coleman & Givan and co-sponsors (Garrett, Williams (JD), Fridy, Shiver, Faust, Ainsworth, Pettus, Mooney & Drake) and passes house

SB65Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB143

Transportation and EnergyNo movement on this bill since first read: but, SB143 is co-sponsored with Marsh and is identical
SB85Smitherman (D)Creates the Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund

*isn’t noted but seems like companion bill to HB10

Transportation and Energy·        2/27: passes House and forward to the Governor

·        2/20: passes House

·        2/1: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/25: Moves to House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

·        1/25: Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 148

SB143Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB65

Tourism and Marketing·        1/25: Passes Senate with substitute by Singleton
Who Does Trey Glenn Work For?

Who Does Trey Glenn Work For?

Who Does Trey Glenn Really Work For?

Financial disclosures show the EPA Region 4 Administrator was paid at least $5,000 by Balch & Bingham for ‘Drummond/ABC Coke project’

by Michael Hansen | March 9, 2018

Yesterday I wrote a lengthy story about then-Sen. Jeff Sessions’ involvement in the corruption scandal related to the north Birmingham Superfund site. It turns out that his office was intimately involved with trying to pressure the EPA to back off cleanup efforts that Gasp has been working on for the past 7 years.

Today, I’d like to let you know about another shady piece of the puzzle. Back in August 2017, Onis “Trey” Glenn was appointed as EPA Region 4 administrator, which oversees the agency’s mission in eight states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. You may recall that Glenn was the director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management from 2005–2009. His tenure as head of ADEM was controversial.

While he was pushing for the job as director of ADEM, Glenn approved invoices for engineering firm Malcolm Pirnie (which has since changed its named to Arcadis). It just so happened that at the time, Malcolm Pirnie executive Scott Phillips was chair of the Environmental Management Commission and therefore responsible for selecting the next ADEM director. In 2007, the Alabama Ethics Commission unanimously concluded that Glenn violated state ethics laws in order to get the job at ADEM, though he ultimately escaped criminal charges.

Glenn also billed his family’s private plane trip to Disney World to a PR firm — which he said he eventually paid back. It was so bad that former ADEM attorney David Ludder (who now represents Gasp on several legal matters) urged the EMC to pass a rule banning Glenn from receiving gifts from companies regulated by the agency.

Further Reading: Alabama’s environmental director Trey Glenn escapes criminal charges

 

Financial Disclosures

Federal agency appointees like Glenn have to file a Public Financial Disclosure Report and report any income over $5,000 in the 12 months preceding the appointment. In his filing, Glenn listed “technical consulting” work for Balch & Bingham for the “Drummond/ABC Coke project.” (Click on the image to view a PDF of Glenn’s complete filing, which was revised on Nov. 29, 2017.)

Balch & Bingham is the law firm at the heart of the corruption scandal related to the north Birmingham Superfund site. Two of the firm’s attorneys, Steve McKinney and Joel Gilbert, were indicted in September 2017 on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of bribery, three counts of honest services wire fraud, and one count of money laundering conspiracy.

David Roberson, who was vice president of government and regulatory affairs for Drummond Company, was also indicted on the same charges.

Further Reading: Southern EPA pick Trey Glenn is downright Orwellian

On Jan. 10, 2018, I sent a letter to Trey Glenn to “respectfully request ask for further explanation” of the compensation he had received from Balch & Bingham. Below is an excerpt from the letter:

“Due to your own disclosure of connections to these two powerful companies, Balch & Bingham and Drummond Company, we believe you may have an inherent conflict of interest. The EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. Your friends at Balch and Drummond allegedly teamed up to make sure health and the environment were not protected for the residents of the northern Birmingham communities and Tarrant. Real people, many of whom are members of our organization, are being harmed by the toxic pollution spewing from Drummond Company’s ABC Coke facility. Furthermore, if you are to oversee permit renewals, enforcement actions, further action taken to ameliorate contamination at the 35th Avenue Site etc., it is imperative that the public be informed of every detail of the consulting work you performed for the ‘Drummond/ABC Coke project’ that was paid for by Balch.”

Trey Glenn’s office has yet to respond to my request for more information. Copied on the letter were: President Donald J. Trump, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Doug Jones, Sen. Richard Shelby, Rep. Gary Palmer, Rep. Terri Sewell, Sen. Johnny Isakson, Sen. Chris Coons, Sen. Cory Booker.

“Real people, many of whom are members of our organization, are being harmed by the toxic pollution spewing from Drummond Company’s ABC Coke facility.”

 

That’s Not All

There were a couple of other items on Glenn’s disclosure form that stood out. For example, he listed compensation of more than $5,000 from Big Sky Environmental for “consulting.” You may recall the recent uproar over the so-called “poop trains” that were parked in the North Birmingham neighborhood. The rail cars — which were recently banned from sitting in the town of West Jefferson after residents protested — contained sewage sludge from New York and New Jersey for disposal at the Big Sky Environmental landfill in Adamsville. Speaking of Big Sky Environmental, check out this bizarre story about the company that’s sure to leave you scratching your head.

That wasn’t the only thing that raised our eyebrows. Glenn also reported more than $5,000 from Matrix, LLC — the notorious “communications” firm favored by politicians and powerful business interests. The reason? Also for “consulting.” The Energy and Policy Institute describes Matrix as a “lobbying and opposition research firm that has provided political consulting services to Alabama Power for decades.”

Between Glenn’s past behavior and the recent revelation that he’s been paid by Balch & Bingham to work on the “Drummond/ABC Coke project,” coupled with consulting for questionable actors like Big Sky Environmental and Matrix, LLC, we have come to the conclusion that Trey Glenn must recuse himself from any and all matters related to north Birmingham or Drummond Company.

Take Action

Write your own letter asking Trey Glenn to recuse! Or call Region 4 and relay your concerns.

Hon. Trey Glenn
Regional Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4
61 Forsyth Street, S.W.
Mail Code: 9T25
Atlanta, GA 30303-8960
(404) 562-9900


 

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