Bluestone Coke will have to pay $925,000 to the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH), and GASP for violating air quality regulations, including the Alabama Air Pollution Control Act of 1971. The plant has been closed since October 14, 2021, and this settlement does not give the pant permission to reopen. If the facility does wish to begin operations again, they must work with the JCDH to take the necessary steps, which include Bluestone monitoring and auditing air quality levels around the plant and reporting any issues.
Mayor Randall L. Woodfin weighed in on the situation, saying, “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 Five Points West 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.”
According to the JCDH, half of the money will be added to the Sustainable Residential-Industrial Buffers Fund and be used in the community surrounding Bluestone Coke's facility. In a recent quote, Dr. Mark Wilson, Jefferson County Health Officer, said, "While civil penalties related to air pollution regulation are not typically invested directly back into the community, all parties to the agreement wanted a significant portion of the penalty to be used in a way that would further improve the environment and quality of life for the people living in the area."