Because as LeFleur and ADEM have shown again and again, these people aren’t people at all, but rather the industries that make it unsafe for real people to live.
If there’s one thing that people across the political spectrum can agree on, it’s this: When a granddad takes his grandchildren to fish in the river, when they catch a fish, they should be able to eat that fish without worry of impairing the little ones’ brain development.
That won’t be a problem on the Mulberry Fork. For a while, at least, there won’t be any fish there to catch.
And it’s not just the fish, either. It’s the water. The water we play in. The water we drink.
In April, 3M reported to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management that it was discharging chemicals that are illegal to put into water. But records show that the state of Alabama had been alerted for years and did not stop the continued release of the toxic chemical into the Tennessee River.
Tyson bought American Proteins for a reported $850 million last year, when the chicken giant brought in $40 billion in revenue – the gross domestic product of the entire country of Jordan.
If Tyson were fined a million dollars it would add up to .003 percent of its income – the equivalent of a cup of coffee for a guy who makes $100,000 a year. Nothing.
Honestly, we are to the point now that we’re probably worse off with ADEM than without. We should take the money that we’re apparently wasting on that staff and give it to the various Riverkeeper groups around Alabama. Hell, they find half of the problems, and provide much more honest and thorough reports, and do a much better job notifying the general public of problems than ADEM ever has.
The Coosa Riverkeeper, a watchdog organization that monitors water quality along the Coosa’s 220-mile path through Alabama, spoke out after the utility last week was fined $250,000 for pollutants found in groundwater near the Gadsden Ash Pond on the banks of the river.
“We firmly believe that leaving the ash to sit in an unlined pit and pollute the nearby groundwater for decades to come is irresponsible,” said Justinn Overton, the Riverkeeper’s executive director.
Coal ash is a by-product created when coal is burned for electricity. Plant Gadsden stopped burning coal in March 2015 and finished closing the pond in 2018, implementing monitoring wells it committed to checking for pollutants.
West Jefferson, Alabama, a somnolent town of around 420 people north-west of Birmingham, was an unlikely venue to seize the national imagination. Now, it has the misfortune to be forever associated with the “poop train”.
Residents in and near Birmingham have been in uproar over sewage that is transported by train and truck from New York and New Jersey to be dumped in the southern state.
The treated sewage – euphemistically known in the industry as “biosolids” – has plagued residents with a terrible stench, flies and concerns that spilled sludge has leaked into waterways.