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 Coke is the worst polluting industrial facility in Jefferson County, exceeding that of nearby Walter Coke.

Last year, the EPA named both Drummond Company a potentially responsible party (PRP) for toxic contamination in several northern Birmingham neighborhoods — along with Walter Energy, U.S. Pipe & Foundry, KMAC and Alagasco.

According to the Times-Picayune, “EPA ordered the [Louisiana] Department of Environmental Quality to revise its permit, to require additional controls to block the release of a variety of toxic pollutants from the plant’s coke ovens, including arsenic, benzene, lead compounds and cobalt compounds.”

These are the exact same toxics coming from ABC Coke’s facility and we are deeply concerned about the severe health effects on residents across Jefferson County, particularly in the low-income areas of Collegeville, Fairmont, North Birmingham, Harriman Park, and Tarrant.

The Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) is responsible for issuing the Title V permits inside Jefferson County, and ABC Coke’s is currently up for renewal. JCDH is holding a public informational meeting Monday, March 31 for citizens to come learn about the permit process.

JCDH is also holding a public hearing Monday, April 14, where citizens can come express their concerns about the pollution coming from ABC Coke and how it affects their health and well-being.

We encourage everyone who lives or works in Jefferson County to show up at both of these events to show that the public is, in fact, concerned with air pollution and the negative effects it has on our health, our economy and our environment.

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