Suppression of African-Americans

Blatant economic racism and environmental injustice cannot be tolerated.

In an explosive investigative article posted in May 11, 2017, (Alabama Media Group) reported how Balch & Bingham dumped $134,000 into a foundation run by an alleged corrupt politician, Oliver Robinson, currently under federal investigation, who in turn disenfranchised African-Americans from testing their toxic and contaminated property under EPA rules in 2015 and 2016.

The following day, May 12, 2017, Robinson confirmed that Balch had allegedly hired him to work the neighborhoods.

[Update: On June 22, 2017, Robinson entered into a plea agreement in a federal criminal case regarding a bribery conspiracy that involves a Balch partner. Read more here.]

On May 16, 2017, the CDLU called for the immediate resignation of Jeffrey H. Wood, Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, after he was linked through a U.S. Department of Justice memo to the alleged conspiracy to suppress African-Americans in Alabama from testing their toxic and contaminated properties under the CERCLA/Super Fund Act and as wrote, to “resist EPA efforts to clean up polluted neighborhoods in and around north Birmingham.”

[Update: CDLU successfully blocks Wood nomination. In a blow to the embattled law firm, the Trump Administration quietly decided to nominate Jeffrey Bossert Clark instead of Jeffrey H. Wood on June 6, 2017. Victory!]

Before joining the Trump Administration, Wood was a partner at embattled law firm Balch & Bingham, working for their Energy and Environmental and Natural Resources practices out of their Washington, D.C. offices. K.B. Forbes, Executive Director of the CDLU, stated, “Mr. Wood must immediately resign because blatant economic racism and environmental injustice cannot be tolerated. Anyone involved in an alleged conspiracy to suppress African-Americans is unfit to serve in the U.S. Department of Justice.”

According to lobbying disclosure reports, Wood met on Capitol Hill to discuss CERCLA/Superfund laws and policies in the second quarter and third quarters of 2016. In an email sent last Friday, May 12th, to Wood, the CDLU asked, “Did you at any time provide intelligence or knowledge back to your colleagues at Balch? Were you at any time asked to provide advice regarding the matters on 35th Avenue/North Birmingham?  You were working at Balch when this alleged scheme to suppress African-Americans occurred.”

But then the CDLU reviewed a U.S. Department of Justice memo from February saying, because of his work at Balch, Wood would be recused from any “CERCLA matters related to the North Birmingham CERCLA site in Alabama.”

The CDLU declared, “Wood’s fingerprints are on this debacle.”