Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Arsenic and Old Waste"--ADEM & AEMC Give Two Toxic State Reps a Top Billing

There’s a wonderful old movie by Frank Capra, “Arsenic and Old Lace,” in which two dotty old sisters poison elderly bachelors by spiking elderberry wine with arsenic. True to screwball comedy style, they were charming and blameless murderers. Unlike Cary Grant, who discovered the plot, the unknowing citizens of Alabama are being fed a similarly poisonous blend by the equally potentially dangerous actions of state representatives Canfield and Marsh-- the lead players in Alabama’s coal ash bill that could be more appropriately titled “Arsenic and Old Waste.”

In the movie, the deceased bachelors are buried in the basement by a crazy brother who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt digging the Panama Canal. The citizens of Alabama don’t have a script to follow and aren’t privy to the eventual epilogue of how this recent legislation will really play out, but we’ve had a preview of it in Perry County, Alabama, and the reviews have not been good.

Representative Canfield (1:14 mark in video on regulation of CA), Senator Marsh and our state regulatory agencies supported this legislation as “protective of Alabama’s environment and people” and believing that coal ash has beneficial uses so it can’t be that toxic. We say their claims are about as harmless as the elderberry wine served to unsuspecting gentleman callers in the movie.

For a parallel view, brought into sharp focus by Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey in the video below, you would have to go back to the turn of the century, when arsenic and mercury were considered beneficial ingredients in tooth compounds and beauty products by the general public who didn’t know any better. There were many deaths that resulted from people using them to improve their complexions and relieve pain, and it became obvious, a century ago, what the perils of arsenic and mercury exposure were.

Representative McKinley-WV offers the counterpoint to Rep. Markey and claims that any criticism of the "jobs bill" is "fallacious and found in tabloids, not in science." Who's paying him to be so disingenuous? To suggest the undoing of historical lessons learned and pass weak prohibitions on arsenic and mercury exposure from coal ash is like mandating cocaine to be put back into Coca-Cola for general consumption. We know better.

When it comes to properly classifying coal ash, we’re stuck in a semi-permanent intermission to strictly regulate it as a hazardous toxic waste, because the utility giants and coal lobby refuse to leave the Washington concession counter and let the story play out to its honest conclusion.

Since the legislation passed in the Alabama State House, the two main players in this story have been *awarded accolades by ADEM for their outstanding roles in coal ash legislation. We'll see a replay of the tragedy of Perry County as ADEM proclaims the bill puts "Alabama on the national radar for any company interested in" dumping their coal ash in in this state. Again.
*AEMC meeting 7/23/2011 pg.1 (pgs.1-4) pg. 2 (pgs.5-8)
ADEM CanField/Marsh Recognition

We suspect there were a few behind the scenes directors hired by Alabama Power to urge ADEM to give these two representatives their public ‘award.’ Representative Canfield went on to an even bigger stage as the new head of the Alabama Development Office, and a much cushier salary than the one he enjoyed as a state representative. Canfield benefits nicely from the quasi-governmental alliance created by the merging of the EDPA and the ADO, which Alabama Power plays a starring role in. Senator Marsh may go on to replace the embattled and disgraced Senator Scott Beason as the new senatorial lion in charge of all future Alabama legislation.

Collusion has its rewards and we submit that the entire coal ash scheme was the end result of a collaborative effort between ADEM, Alabama Power and these two representatives to advance all of their interests, profits and own careers over the rights of Alabamians expectations to live free from toxic exposure.
Some of the heavy metals contained in coal ash are known carcinogens (and can actually increase the risk of cancer by 2,000 percent) and some can cause learning disabilities, birth defects or respiratory trouble. Problem is, the most deadly types of health-related issues caused by these substances don't develop overnight, says Dr. Avner Vengosh, a Duke University scientist who studied the impact of the coal ash spill in Tennessee. "I'm not expecting to see an immediate impact on people's health," he says, adding it could take years for certain cancers to metastasize.
To put it all in focus and project the truth on the screen of the public view, run this previous article of ours through your mental projector, and view the behind-the-scenes cut that the cast of characters involved in this horror flick didn’t want you to see.

So Say We The Opinion Board Of The Vincent Alabama Confidential
*Photo credit: Classicfilmsrevisted
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  1. This was one of your best Max!

  2. Alabama is already the nation's garbage can.
    Now we're going to become the waste receptacle for the nation's coal ash? Thanks so much ADEM.

  3. I don't remember Rep. Canfield saying anything about Alabama's intent to increase shipments of toxic coal ash for dumping here. What I do remember is him saying that Alabama needed these regulations so coal ash couldn't be dumped in "any open field."
    Marsh said it too. What I get from this pat on the back from ADEM is; thanks boys we'll make us some money off this and we'll just act like we're being careful.
    Coal ash is toxic. The only place it should be placed is an approved hazardous waste landfill.
    Thanks to ADEM and the legislature green-lighting it to be in any landfill in the state, we can look forward to a decreased quality of life, not a better one.

  4. Mr. Canfield is not qualified to run the ADO and everyone knows it. Even the usually friendly to business mainstream media has raised questions about Bentley appointing him.
    I think you are right Max. It's political payback.

  5. Whatever Drummond Coal and Alabama Power want they have paid off politicians well to get.
    ADEM needs to be shut down and taken over by the EPA.

  6. Annette in AlabamaJuly 23, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Mr. Canfield was not qualified to speak on behalf of coal ash. He said with this regulation coal ash could not be legally dumped in open fields and would be placed in landfills. He never mentioned the landfills have no regulation.

    And Mr. Canfield is not qualified to head ADO.

    The more information released about the dangers of coal ash, the closer we come to exposing these dangerous people.

    Thank Max. Excellent work.

  7. ADEM is inept and just another state collection agency staffed with yes men and women that do what they are told.
    Where do you think the civil action and non-compliance money levied against environmental violators goes?
    Would it surprise you to learn that it shoots straight into the states' general fund coffers and not back into ADEM?
    We can't have the state agency getting enough revenue to actually do their jobs now can we? Governor Bentley slashed the agency funding even more following Rep. Canfield's rolling BS budget.
    Ah yes, the puzzle is beginning to take shape...

  8. Marsh is almost a million dollar man according to his 2010 contributors:

    He loves the lawyers and lobbyists to the tune of $178,250 received from that snakey bunch in 2010 and he's a Tea Party Express lackey aka KOCH Brothers backed candidate.

    Canfield is such a climber he's cheap and was a shoe-in candidate anyway. He's getting his reward with the ADO bone.

    They're both sellouts period.

  9. I've read this three times and I still can't believe this gall and ignorance of these clowns. Do they really think no one sees through all this deceit and acting corruptly behavior?

  10. Corruptly is as corruptly does. These boys are dirty.

  11. i'myourhuckleberryJuly 23, 2011 at 11:44 PM

    Are they just determined to kill us all off with this nonsense? The day a landfill and coal ash dump appears in the upper crust neighborhoods is the day I'll say well, maybe not, they're just dumber than a box of rocks.

  12. NoQuarryInVincentJuly 24, 2011 at 5:28 AM

    The entire process of Alabama's coal ash legislation is just another example of the "good old boy" network in Alabama. Canfield and Marsh simply carried out the desires of Alabama Power in this charade to "regulate" coal ash.

    The bill was, in effect, the opposite of regulation; it grants PERMISSION for the state to introduce MORE toxins into our environment. I don't know whether to laugh or pull my hair out at such ridiculous language in ADEM"S recognition letter such as "proper regulation" and "protecting human health". Who is ADEM fooling?

    Canfield was a part of the "machine" at the University of Alabama. He was rewarded for supporting the "machine's" unscrupulous efforts by being appointed as executive assistant to the Student Government Association President. So now, he gets rewarded with a new position (which he is unqualified for) at the ADO for supporting the unscrupulous coal ash legislation. Some things never change.

    The ADEM recognition reminds me of the dufus award Canfield plastered all over his campaign literature back in 2006. That lucite trophy pictured on his campaign postcards engraved with the phrase "2005 Businessman of the Year" award? Bogus. That trophy was given to anyone who made a contribution of a certain dollar amount to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

  13. Editorial in Sunday's Birmingham News:

    I am writing in opposition to the renewal of the Arrowhead landfill permit in Perry County, which I understand would allow up to 15,000 tons a day of industrial solid waste from 33 states. No, thank you.

    This permit also would allow for "special" industrial waste. Is that code for more coal ash being brought into our area?

    Please don't think repermitting something of this magnitude by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is helping us. Listen to our citizens first; those who stand to profit from this venture should be scrutinized.


  14. Fraudory J. Canfield is a slickster who's determined to climb as high up the ladder as he can by any means necessary.
    I have zero respect for his type.


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