BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Gasp, a nonprofit health advocacy organization working for clean air in Alabama, has released a 175-page comment on the Title V operating permit draft for ABC Coke, which is currently up for renewal with the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH). Click here to view the document.
The comment period expired Friday, April 18. Gasp has made its comments available to the public to raise awareness about the toxic pollution coming from the Drummond-owned coke by-products facility in Tarrant, Ala.
Key findings from the executive summary:
- ABC Coke emits a number of carcinogens. Among these are Benzene, Naphthalene, and Arsenic. ABC Coke has failed to demonstrate in its application that the quantity and duration of these and other carcinogens in the outdoor atmosphere will not tend to be injurious to human health.
- ABC Coke also emits odors and particulate matter. ABC Coke has failed to demonstrate that the quantity and duration of these air contaminants in the outdoor atmosphere will not tend to be injurious to human health, welfare or property and will not interfere with the enjoyment of life or property.
- The emissions from ABC Coke will adversely and disproportionately impact a community that is composed of 66% African-Americans. The granting of the permit to ABC Coke will violate U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations promulgated to implement the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Draft General Permit Condition 14 pertaining to control of fugitive dust from ABC Coke is based on a Board of Health regulation nearly identical to a rule adopted by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. The latter rule has been declared unconstitutionally vague and restrictive.
- Based on these and other findings, Gasp concludes that the Health Officer [Dr. Mark Wilson] “must deny the ABC Coke permit.”
Comments submitted to JCDH will be considered on the draft permit, which will also be reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA named Drummond Co. as a potentially responsible party (PRP) for toxic contamination found in the Birmingham communities of Collegeville, Fairmont, Harriman Park and North Birmingham.
In addition to making the comments available to the public, Gasp has created an infographic (below) containing factual information about the health effects of air pollution as well as findings from the ABC Coke draft permit comments. Click here to download the infographic (PDF).