Posted yesterday, CNN’s bombshell visual and interactive story on polluting ash ponds outlines potential environmental disasters and the “money-making” schemes surrounding those foolish decisions.
Alabama Power’s Barry Plant (and toxic ash pond) near Mobile, Alabama is a central figure of the investigative story and highlights the controversy surrounding the future of these contaminated ash ponds.
But the real explosive grenade was confirmation that the EPA is probing Alabama Power. CNN reports:
While state regulators approved Alabama Power’s plans for the Barry pond in July, EPA Administrator Regan told CNN last month that his agency is “actively investigating (…) the Plant Barry situation.”
“We understand the concerns about this facility in Alabama,” Regan said. “The last administration’s leadership failed to act on these concerns. This administration will act to protect communities and, based on my prior experience, if there is coal ash in contact with groundwater, that’s putting the health and safety of communities at risk and requires our attention.”
Regan and the EPA could now expand the investigation and probe Alabama Power’s ash pond at Miller Steam Plant in Jefferson County and alleged secret indemnity deals, known as the Crosswhite Scandal.
The Crosswhite Scandal involves indemnity deals allegedly paid through third-party entities, like embattled law firm Balch & Bingham, to cover up alleged unsavory and criminal misconduct.
Mark A. Crosswhite, CEO of Alabama Power, a former Balch partner, is under fire for his alleged failed leadership at the utility.
Unsubstantiated rumors claim that Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning is retiring next year and that Crosswhite has allegedly told insiders he’s next in line at the C-Suite in Atlanta.
Crosswhite was infamously photographed chugging cocktails with disgraced now ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town who insidiously claimed the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal involved two lone wolves, an assessment no one believed, not even federal investigators.