THE LEGAL EXAMINER

The latest news from our Legal Examiner Blog.

Train crossing wreck in Creola Alabama
By Billy Cunningham on July 3, 2017

Wells Fargo’s Sham Accounts Joins Forces with Arbitration’s Injustices
By Billy Cunningham on December 7, 2016

YOU Can End Arbitration in Nursing Homes
By Billy Cunningham on July 29, 2016

Will the Medical/Hospital Community Address the 250,000 Deaths by Medical Errors?
By Billy Cunningham on May 9, 2016


Coal Case Update

COAL DUST IN MOBILE ALABAMA

Mining, hauling and transferring coal are legitimate business activities and should be allowed so long as the public is protected from the toxic coal dust those activities create.  The Fox 10 News environmental documentaries, by investigative reporter Kati Weise, leave no doubt that coal dust is a huge problem in Mobile.  Large quantities of coal dust are accumulating on houses, cars, businesses, and public buildings in the Mobile community. Mobile County’s chief health officer, Dr. Bert Eichold, has testified that coal dust is a health hazard and fugitive emissions should be contained.  So, what is happening?

In the fall of 2015, Cooper Marine got caught illegally operating a coal handling facility less than one mile north of the Wallace Tunnel.   Cooper plead ignorance and applied for a permit.  The Planning Approval Staff Report, prepared in connection with that application, documents that Cooper provides even less coal dust mitigation than a prior applicant who withdrew its request following community protest.

At hearings on Cooper’s request residents complained to the Planning Commission of coal dust accumulation on their property and presented medical articles documenting the toxic effects of coal dust.  Even so, the Mobile Planning Commission gave Cooper permission to operate its open air coal handling facility next to the homes and businesses of downtown Mobile.

Residents appealed that decision to the City Council.  Councilmembers Rich and Manzie voted with the residents, Councilmember Daves abstained but Councilmembers Gregory, Richardson, Small and Williams sided with Cooper.  The residents’ appeal was denied 4-2.

Residents filed suit in the Circuit Court of Mobile County Alabama claiming that the decision to allow Cooper’s open air coal dust generating facility was “arbitrary and capricious” and that the statute under which it was issued is unconstitutional.  The case was assigned to the Honorable Sarah H. Stewart, Circuit Judge Mobile County Alabama.  On March 22, 2017 Judge Stewart denied motions to dismiss the complaint filed by Cooper and the City of Mobile.

So, the answer is that the case is moving forward!  A discovery hearing is scheduled for April 28, 2017.

If you’d like more information, please email my assistant Matt Laird at the following email address mlaird@bcmlawyers.com.

 


Mobile Government Plaza, a.k.a the City-County Administration Building.


Downtown Mobile, Alabama.