Jefferson County health department using ABC Coke settlement to give back to communities impacted by pollution

Local News
Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Residents in North Birmingham, Tarrant, and Inglenook will benefit from hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of grants going to local charities and organizations.

After the Jefferson County Board of Health received a settlement from ABC Coke for $387,500 for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson told CBS 42 they wanted to give back to the communities impacted by the environmental health violations.

“This has been particularly gratifying in this particular case, to be able to give it back to the community and to have a settlement of this size and to be able to give it back to the community with some of these grants that have been done, which I think are very meaningful grants,” Wilson said.

The settlement comes after reports made several years ago of violations at the coke plant, which is owned by Drummond Company. Wilson explained it’s an example of Jefferson County Department of Health holding industries accountable.

“I think the most important thing for us to do is make sure the air program and the EPA are continuing to do their job, and I think this is an example where we did do our job along with the EPA to make sure we pick up on these things,” Wilson said.

According to JCDH, the grants will go to the following 11 organizations helping North Birmingham, Tarrant and Inglenook neighbors:

  • The Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to purchase and distribute books to children from birth to 5 years old through the “Reach Out and Read” program.
  • The Friends Foundation of the Birmingham Public Library, for a series of public presentations on women’s health issues.
  • HUB Worldwide, to provide supplies and equipment needed for the Northern Health Center and the Northside Dental Clinic through an ongoing partnership with Alabama Regional Medical Services (ARMS).
  • The Literacy Council of Central Alabama, for a program helping persons with low literacy better understand health-related information.
  • Oasis Counseling for Women and Children, to provide mental health services to low-income women and children experiencing trauma from physical, emotional or sexual abuse, severe depression and anxiety, grief from loss or death, or other mental health problems.
  • Sight Savers America, to provide Tarrant city school students with free health screenings, vision screenings, and follow-up case management.
  • Changed Lives Christian Center, to help support a mobile clinic that serves clients in North Birmingham.
  • Christian Service Mission, for housing repairs to 12 homes in the North Birmingham community
  • Freshwater Land Trust, to install trailhead, wayfinding signage, and benches along the Tarrant Aqueduct Trail within the Red Rock Trail System.
  • The Jefferson County District Attorney Office, to extend access to the Helping Families Initiative (HFI) in the Carver High School feeder pattern and the Tarrant City Schools. The HFI partners with schools to identify children with unexcused absences and suspensions from school and provides them with a program designed to improve family functioning, child well-being, and educational outcomes through assessment, intervention, and social services referrals.
  • Meals on Wheels of Central Alabama, to expand the number of seniors receiving delivery of meals.

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