Gasp Launches New Online Air Quality Tool

Gasp Launches New Online Air Quality Tool

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gasp Launches New Online Air Quality Tool

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 5, 2017) — In an effort to reduce exposure to the harmful health effects of air pollution, Gasp this week announced that it has released a new online tool for users to get the current and next day’s air quality for the Birmingham area.

The Air Quality Widget displays the current air quality index, or AQI, with a corresponding color code based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow data. It updates twice per hour. The …

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BREAKING: Board of Health Denies Gasp’s Request for a Hearing on Walter Coke Air Permit

BREAKING: Board of Health Denies Gasp’s Request for a Hearing on Walter Coke Air Permit

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — July 8, 2015 — The Jefferson County Board of Health, the governing body of the Department of Health (JCDH), voted tonight to dismiss a request by Gasp for a hearing on the issuance of a key air pollution permit for the Walter Coke facility in Harriman Park in northern Birmingham. The facility, which is owned by the financially troubled Walter Energy Company, is one of five named “potentially responsible parties” by the EPA for toxic contamination in the area.

In light of the …

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PSC’s ‘Misplaced Priorities’ Lead to Higher Utility Bills for Alabamians

PSC’s ‘Misplaced Priorities’ Lead to Higher Utility Bills for Alabamians

A report titled “What Public Service? How the Alabama Public Service Commission’s misplaced priorities put utility profits over people” was released last week by Greater Birmingham Ministries. Gasp has been seeking transparency at the PSC for the past two years with a particular focus on the health impacts of Alabama Power’s energy planning decisions, which are made without real public participation.

“Now more than ever, the PSC institutes policies that are in no way equitable or economical for customers,” explains Greater Birmingham Ministries. “Instead, they boost the bottom …

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Lack of Health Research Stands in the Way of Progress

Lack of Health Research Stands in the Way of Progress

On Wednesday, July 30, the Jefferson County Department of Health held a press conference in which Jefferson County Health Officer Mark Wilson —€” our Doctor-in-Chief —€” presented “cancer data, death rate data and birth outcome data related to residents’€™ environmental concerns for the North Birmingham area compared to other areas of Jefferson County.” (See below for documents.)

The gist of the presentation was that the residents in the heavily industrial 35207 ZIP code —€” including North Birmingham, Collegeville, Harriman Park and Fairmont €”— do not suffer worse health outcomes than other …

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Supreme Court Delivers Victory for Clean Air

The Supreme Court today announced a decision hailed by health and environmental advocates as a victory for clean air. The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is a 2011 Environmental Protection Agency regulation that requires certain states to reduce emissions from power plants that pollutes the air of states down wind.

The rule was put on hold when the D.C. circuit court struck it down. The Supreme Court reversed that decision in a 6-to-€“2 vote. Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the decision, writing, “EPA’s cost-effective allocation of emission reductions among upwind states, we …

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ABC Coke Draft Permit Comments Due Friday, April 18

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Comments on the draft air pollution permit renewal for ABC Coke, a Drummond Company, are due to health department officials by close of business (4:30 p.m.) Friday, April 18. A copy of the draft permit can be found here.

The Jefferson County Department of Health held a public hearing regarding the permit Monday, April 14. Dozens of interested residents affected by air pollution packed a small conference room at JCDH’s central office in Southside Birmingham. (Gasp had requested the time and location of …

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EPA Opposes Nucor Permit in Louisiana

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week published its objections to permits for a new Nucor manufacturing plant in Convent, La. The Times-Picayune reported the EPA’s conclusions, saying “the plant will violate several provisions of the Clean Air Act.”

The timing of these objections from the EPA is very salient for Alabamians concerned with clean air. Recently, we have been sharing our work to challenge the Title V operating permit for Drummond Company’s ABC Coke plant in Tarrant, just north of Birmingham. Evidence shows that ABC …

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Atlantic Report Highlights Health Risks from Neurotoxins

Atlantic Report Highlights Health Risks from Neurotoxins

The Atlantic today published a report titled “The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains” that immediately caught our eye. The article starts by citing 2012 research from Harvard’s Dr. David Bellinge, which found that Americans have lost 41 million IQ points due to exposure to neurotoxins. That’s a staggering number!

Last month, Philippe Grandjean (Harvard) and Philip Landrigan (Mount Sinai School of Medicine) created a stir when they published a report in the prestigious medical journal, Lancet Neurology. In it, they described a “silent pandemic” from toxins affecting the development of children.

The researchers …

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Gasp Challenges Southern Company CEO Thomas Fanning at Annual Meeting

Gasp Challenges Southern Company CEO Thomas Fanning at Annual Meeting

BIRMINGHAM, Ala — On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, Kirsten Bryant, Outreach Director for Gasp, joined Southern Company shareholders at Callaway Gardens for the company’s annual meeting, directly questioning Chairman and CEO Thomas Fanning about the lack of transparency at Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co.

Specifically, Bryant called into question how Alabama Power sets commercial rates — the highest in the Southeast — and residential electricity rates — making Alabama’s electricity bills among the highest in the nation. She also questioned the opaque, hidden way the …

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Gasp Responds to 2013 State of the Air Report

OFFICIAL STATEMENT
Despite Progress, Birmingham Region Still Lags in Air Quality

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Once again, the state of Alabama lags behind much of the nation in air quality, according to the just-released 2013 State of the Air report from the American Lung Association (ALA).

The Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman area failed two of the study’s three measures: high-ozone days and annual particle pollution. Strikingly, the area ranks 14th worst out of 277 metro regions in the number of high ozone days.

A news release from ALA notes that progress has been made, …

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