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Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 12:49 PM PDT

Questions For EPA (AL-07)

by draftsmoot

Over the last few months in several diaries, I've introduced Shelia Smoot (AL 07) a candidate running for the open seat being vacated by current Congressman Artur Davis. Shelia has taken an active roll in discussion surrounding toxic coal ash being shipped through this district from Tennessee to a landfill in Perry County (the poorest county in AL-07).

The New York Times covered the Coal ash disposal controversy going on in Perry County, Alabama in their National Sunday Edition a couple of weeks ago. Here's the accompanying video:

A press release below the thread that Shelia sent out last week regarding a hearing about this issue.

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We first wrote about this situation ,about a month ago, when the idea of sending toxic coal from a Tennessee Spill into an Alabama landfill was in the planning stages.

Despite a number of concerns from residents, environmentalists and public officials a public hearing was never scheduled on this matter. Every two days for approximately a year 85 rail cars, containing coal ash containing  heavy metals and other hazardous compounds, will trek from Eastern Tennessee through Birmingham all the way to Perry County, Alabama. This is at a minimum a 350 mile distance.

While local officials contend that this will produce jobs and economic development in the poor community, others are not so sure of the long term impacts to the health and safety and even economic stability of this
decision.

The local DA Michael Jackson and Congressional Candidate Shelia Smoot (AL-07) have recently weighed in on this matter and hopefully their calls for impact studies and public education will bring some needed attention.  (read their thoughts below the thread)

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Three weeks ago, the Shelia Smoot for Congress campaign  was officially launched with a
bus tour of three counties in the district.

Since that time we have visited some of the poorer counties in the District - Wilcox and Perry County and visited with folks in Selma, Alabama at a Town Hall meeting.

Let me give you an idea of the despair and poverty in those counties very indicative of much of AL-07 - Wilcox County has an unemployment rate of 22% and a median income of just under 20k per year. Perry County's largest employer is a Catfish Farm that starts all of its workers at minimum wage. Half of the City of Uniontown (in Perry County) lives in some form of public housing.

We can do better

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Photobucket

"So when we go to Congress, we go together. And I'll take the community's wishes with me to Washington, D.C."

Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot (in center flanked by supporters), with a lot of energy and excitement, officially rolled out her campaign to become the first woman elected to represent Alabama in Congress with a bus tour through the 7th Congressional District.  

*We've also relaunched our Smoot for Congress website

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A recent report from 2007 Census Data  showed Alabama 49 in the country, falling only behind Mississippi, in terms of being able to access the internet from home. We are 48th in having access from some location which includes public libraries, free hot spots and schools. Improved access to high speed internet is a major component of our plans to improve the quality of life in the 7th Congressional district, which is composed of some of the most impoverished counties in the country . Not being able to access information through the internet is no longer a luxury but a requirement to be competitive in education and the workforce.

This issue is going to be a major part of the Smoot for Congress (AL-07) campaign in 2010. We appreciate any comments and suggestions on this issue.

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The Tennessee Valley Authority, the nations largest public utility, plans on shipping millions of tons of coal ash from a massive spill to a landfill in Perry County, Alabama. Perry County (AL-07) boasts one of the highest poverty rates in the country. Despite officials from Alabama and the federal government stating otherwise, environmental activists argue that the material could contain some very toxic material.

"It's unverified, depending on which sources you go to, what the level of toxicity is," said Michael Churchman, executive director of the Alabama Environmental Council.

"I don't see how they think it should be shipped to Perry County and treated like a banana peel or other items from my house."

So there is nowhere "suitable in Eastern Tennessee" to dispose this stuff, so it's just going to be dumped at a landfill at a poor county in Alabama.

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This diary is an update from a posted very early on Wednesday morning.

This is about asking you to give a hoot for Shelia Smoot (D-Birmingham) who announced on April 16 that she is running for Congress in AL-07. This seat is being vacated by Artur Davis who will be a candidate for Governor in 2010. (This diary is about her announcement and her fighting for the rights of UFCW Grocery Union Workers in Alabama) Her efforts helped to ensure that a Sale of the Bruno's chain of Grocery stores would honor Union agreements

We wrote this  introductory diary in March and this diary in April.  We will continue to visit Daily Kos and let you know what is going on with our campaign. We are not going to just show up around election time but we want to engage and really get something out this dialogue.

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This diary has nothing to do with Michele Bachmann and her confusion of the Smoot-Hawley Act . We just couldn't pass this one up.

This is about asking you to give a hoot for Shelia Smoot who announced two weeks ago from today she is running for Congress in AL-07. This seat is being vacated by Artur Davis who will be a candidate for Governor in 2010. (This diary is about her announcement and her fighting for the rights of UFCW Grocery Union Workers)

We wrote this  introductory diary in March and this diary in April.  We will continue to visit Daily Kos and let you know what is going on with our campaign. We are not going to just show up around election time but we want to engage and really get something out this dialogue.

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Two weeks ago today we introduced ourselves and our candidate, Shelia Smoot, here in a diary called Running for Congress (AL07) Our First Daily Kos Diary.

Part of the suggestions in the comments thread were for us to stay active and involved with this site and others and to not just disappear. We decided that a series of diaries to talk about our candidate and the issues important to this district would be helpful.

We are going to run an interactive campaign and ask for feedback. But today I wanted to talk about Shelia's involvement in creating the Jefferson County Greenway Commission and her views on environmental health and smart urban growth. A few issues, very connected, that are very important in the future of the  Alabama 7th Congressional District as we look to make an official entry and announcement in the coming weeks.

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Shelia Smoot has formed her campaign committee for the AL 07 Congressional Seat that is being vacated by Artur Davis in 2010. Davis will be a Democratic candidate for Governor.

This election can be an historic election. Alabama has never elected an African American Female to Congress. It has never actually elected a female to a full term in Congress.

We started the Draft Smoot group about a month ago to encourage Shelia to run for this seat. While an official announcement has not been made, the campaigning for this seat has started.

What really impressed us is that teens have already become engaged in this movement and started their own facebook group - Teen 4 Shelia Smoot Congress 2010.

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