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Mayor Woodfin and Rep. Sewell Respond to Latest Indictments in North Birmingham Superfund Site Investigation

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell have renewed their call for the Environmental Protection Agency to add the North Birmingham Superfund site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in the aftermath of state ethics indictments relating to the cleanup effort.

On Tuesday, November 13, a Jefferson County grand jury indicted the Southeast regional administrator of the EPA who, before his appointment, had worked with a client in opposition to the EPA testing and cleanup efforts. A former Alabama Environmental Management Commissioner was also indicted. Both were charged for violating state ethics laws.

“The corruption has destroyed the public’s confidence in the process to determine whether the 35th Avenue Superfund Site should be added to the National Priorities List,” Mayor Woodfin said. “Corruption clearly hijacked the decision-making and now the people of North Birmingham deserve a transparent process to determine the resources needed to make their neighborhoods whole.”

Mayor Woodfin joined Rep. Sewell, along with other state, city and neighborhood leaders during a tour of the Superfund site in August. The site consists of contaminated soil from years of industrial pollution.

“This week’s indictment is a step in the right direction for residents of North Birmingham who were the victim of corruption and hazardous pollution,” said Congresswoman Sewell. “We still have work to do seeking justice for families whose homes and communities have been contaminated. The charges brought against Trey Glenn provide additional evidence that the EPA’s initial review of the North Birmingham site was undermined by a misinformation campaign, and that North Birmingham should be reconsidered for the National Priorities List. No family should have to live with a contaminated backyard, and no community should be left to clean up decades of industrial waste. We must continue fighting for a full cleanup of North Birmingham until our whole community is made safe.”

Mayor Woodfin and Rep. Sewell have urged the EPA to act immediately in identifying the 35th Avenue Superfund Site as a national priority, which would expand the resources available to complete the current cleanup.

EPA guidelines state a site may be included on the NPL if it scores 28.50 or greater on the agency’s Hazard Ranking System. The North Birmingham 35th Avenue Superfund Site scored a 50.

In July, a federal jury convicted two individuals on charges they bribed an Alabama lawmaker to help oppose the EPA’s cleanup efforts and possible expansion of the cleanup to NPL status.