Alabama coal firm to pay $775K in air pollution penalties

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — One of Alabama’s largest coal companies has agreed to pay $775,000 in penalties related to air pollution violations near Birmingham.

Al.com reported Tuesday that the proposed Drummond Company settlement comes nearly eight years after violations were discovered during a facility inspection.

Jefferson County Board of Health inspectors and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that the foundry coke facility was releasing over 10 times its reported amount of benzene.

The EPA considers benzene a known carcinogen. It has said that the excess release of benzene was related to unidentified or unrepaired facility leaks and miscalculations based on facility waste streams.

The settlement proposal filed last week allocates half the settlement to the county health board and half to the EPA. It says the company also must check for leaks semi-annually.

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