JCDH sues Birmingham coke plant for violating air regulations, denies plant’s operating permit

Local News
October 02 2021 06:00 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Jefferson County Department of Health has filed a lawsuit against Bluestone Coke citing violations of air pollution regulations.

JCDH says they are seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief under the Alabama Air Pollution Control Act of 1971 and the Jefferson County Board of Health Air Pollution Control Rules and Regulations. The department also denied Bluestone Coke’s Title V operating permit.

“Our health department believes it is critically important to enforce and ensure compliance with the Air Pollution Control Act and the Board’s Rules and Regulations, which are in place to protect the public’s health,” Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson said.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin also released a statement on JCDH’s decision to deny the company’s permit as well as filing the complaint.

“I fully support the denial of Bluestone Coke’s ­­­­­­permit by the Jefferson County Department of Health. The level of non-compliance identified in the health department’s complaint filed in court today makes it clear this company should not operate in North Birmingham. My administration remains committed to advocating for the residents of North Birmingham, just as we did with Sherman Industries and the Ensley community. I will work with the City Council and alongside JCDH to support efforts to ensure compliance to protect the health and well-being of our residents. We will further investigate any other areas of non-compliance that may fall within the jurisdiction of the city as it relates to Bluestone Coke and other industrial operators in North Birmingham.”

Mayor Randall Woodfin

Residents say this is a starting point, a small victory, and they’re closer than they have ever been toward fixing the air and soil pollution than they’ve been in the past 10 years they’ve put up their fight.

“It’s not just my problem, it’s all of our problems,” Keisha Brown said. “This pollution is not going to just stay in one spot, it travels, so if people think they are going to cross town in a secluded, gated place and it’s so exclusive that you’re not getting contaminated, yes you are.”

Back in May, JCDH Director of Environmental Health Jonathan Stanton spoke to CBS 42 on the growing concerns surrounding Bluestone Coke’s reported violations.

No other information has been released at this time.

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