Uniontown, Alabama timeline

  • May 21, 2019

    Uniontown documentary from Reel South premiered on PBS, showing the continued fight with the Arrowhead landfill and the campaign for a seat on the Perry County Commission. WATCH

  • December 3, 2018

    The “controlling interest” in the Arrowhead Landfill was sold from Green Group Holdings to the newly formed Arrowhead Environmental Partners.

  • Federal Funding for Alabama Department of Environmental Management in question after civil rights complaints policies rescinded

  • Black Belt Citizen Ben Eaton wins District 5 Perry County Commission Election.

  • To understand why voting has long been a matter of life and death for Black folks in Alabama, consider the trajectory of Esther Calhoun.

  • At a municipal sprayfield in Uniontown, Alabama, a spigot blasts what it supposed to be fully treated wastewater into the air. The water is meant to seep down into the ground, or evaporate or be soaked up by grasses that grow in the field.

  • October 14, 2017

    News Story published about the black community in Uniontown and a visit by Senator Cory Booker.

  • Picking on the little guy

    February 13, 2017

    The garbage giant Green Group has dismissed its libel lawsuit against the Black Belt Citizens, the group that has been outspoken on Facebook about the garbage company and what coal ash has done to their town. More

  • February 10, 2017

    The Alabama Department of Environmental Management made the final determination to renew and modify the landfill permit to extend it through February 9, 2022. In the months prior, ADEM received numerous pleas from the local citizens to stop the renewal and pull the permit.

  • The owners of the Arrowhead Landfill in Perry County have agreed to withdraw a $30 million lawsuit filed last April that alleged libel and slander against four Uniontown residents who have been vocal opponents of the landfill.

  • Green Group Holdings LLC and Howling Coyote LLC (“Green Group”), owners and operators of the Arrowhead Landfill in Uniontown, Alabama, and members of Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice (“BBCFHJ”) announce that they have engaged in discussions which have led to the voluntary and permanent dismissal of the litigation filed by Green Group against members of BBCFHJ.

  • Four activists from one of Alabama’s poorest communities asked a federal judge Thursday to dismiss a $30 million slander suit filed by Georgia companies that claim they were maligned by complaints about a landfill that accepted tons of coal ash from a Tennessee Valley Authority spill.

  • In one of Alabama’s poorest and most segregated regions, activists are demanding their right to clean water.

  • Officers of a grassroots citizens group whose members have been embroiled in a civil rights complaint involving the Alabama landfill that took in coal ash waste from a 2008 spill at a TVA plant in Tennessee are now facing a $30 million libel and slander suit from the landfill’s corporate owner.

  • President Calhoun and member Johnston travel to Washington DC on request from the US Commission on Civil Rights. Calhoun shares testimony about her experience living in poverty and suffering from racially-motivated discriminatory acts and the resulting injustices.

  • AL NAACP and Black Belt Citizens hold a press conference at Pitts/New Hope Cemetery about the on-going trespass and desecration of the Black cemetery.

  • An Alabama Power Company executive meets with the Black Belt Citizens and offers financial partnerships. APCO is Al’s largest producer and holder of coal ash in the state. Black Belt Citizens denied any partnership and demanded no coal ash.

  • Black Belt Citizens travel to Montgomery to share their coal ash stories with faith leaders

    November 9, 2015

    Esther Calhoun and Adam Johnston travel to Montgomery to the join local film-maker and faith leaders at the Dalriada United Methodist Church for the showing of “Coal Ash Stories”

  • The Center for Public Integrity and NBC release reports about the struggles for ADEM to protect Uniontown’s residents. CPI’s report is “Thirty miles from Selma, a different kind of civil rights struggle” shows how state agency failures are not being enforced by EPA. NBC’s report is “Welcome to Uniontown: Arrowhead Landfill Battle a Modern Civil Rights Struggle” interviews community leaders about living with oppressive conditions.

  • Black Belt Citizens hold a press conference confronting corruption and improper enforcement

    June 1, 2015

    Black Belt Citizens hold a press conference on the steps of the Uniontown City Hall to confront the continued onslaught from illegal pollution and extreme poverty.

  • Back in 2008, an estimated 1.1 billion gallons of toxic coal ash was released into the Emory River in Tennessee when a dam breached at the Kingston Fossil Plant. It was the biggest coal ash spill in the nation.

  • EPA decides coal ash is “garbage” and not “hazardous waste”

    December 19, 2014

    The EPA released its decision to consider coal ash a form of “garbage” rather than “hazardous waste,” which would have required stricter oversight.

  • Officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency are in Uniontown this week investigating claims that Arrowhead landfill, the largest landfill in the state, violates the civil rights of surrounding black property owners.

  • The EPA’s Office of Civil Rights visits Uniontown to investigate the complaints that the Al Department of Environmental Management violated the civil rights of black people living around Arrowhead Landfill.

  • Black Belt Citizens send letters to EPA’s Administrator McCarthy, Region IV Administrator, and to the President of the United States asking for the strongest federal protections possible from coal ash.

  • EPA writes letter to confirm accepting the residents civil rights complaint

    June 27, 2013

    EPA sends letter to attorney Ludder to inform him that the US EPA is accepting the complaint against ADEM for civil rights violations in permitting of Arrowhead Landfill.

  • A new civil rights complaint is filed alleging that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management discriminated against African-American residents living near the Arrowhead Landfill in Perry County, Alabama. The previous complaint was accepted by EPA for investigation, then dismissed without prejudice to refiling after pending litigation over the landfill was terminated.

  • Black Belt Citizens hold coal ash opposition meeting

    November 13, 2012

    Black Belt Citizens members hold planning meeting to oppose coal ash disposal in Arrowhead. Group members commit to their goals for resistance and persistence.

  • Civil Rights Complaint Dismissed

    October 1, 2012

    The EPA dismisses the civil rights complaint against ADEM. Citizens around the landfill are shocked and angered.

  • EPA begins investigating discrimination complaint lodged against ADEM for the recent permitting of the landfill.

  • The Alabama Department of Environmental Management modifies Arrowhead’s permit to allow an expansion in service area and an increase in capacity size without adding any further protections for the adjacent community (that they requested in their public comments). Arrowhead now receives waste from 33 states and is the state’s largest municipal landfill.

  • Green Group Holdings purchases Landfill

    December 1, 2011

    Green Group Holdings (GGH) purchases the landfill through the bankruptcy court. Although they promise to be more supportive of the community, they do not remedy the toxicity problems. GGH’s CEO, Kauffman, is a former employee of the Al Department of Environmental Management and helped write some of the state’s solid waste regulations.

  • ADEM renews permit for Arrowhead Landfill

    September 1, 2011

    ADEM renews the landfill’s permit despite great opposition from the majority of the residents in Uniontown.

  • ADEM holds hearing to renew landfill permit; elected officials do not show up

    July 1, 2011

    The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) holds a hearing in Uniontown. Local resident Sandra Richards told the officials that the elected officials were not there because they were “ashamed” of the “dirty deed” they had done, “just for the love of money.”

  • State of Alabama passes law exempting coal ash from any regulations

    May 1, 2011

    Alabama State Legislature passes HB 50 and Governor Riley signs into action this new law that exempts coal ash from any regulations. Black Belt Citizens contest and protest this policy.

  • State of Alabama passes landfill moratorium act yet allows the renewal of Arrowhead’s permit

    February 1, 2011

    Al Governor Riley signs Executive Order Number 8 aka the landfill moratorium act which directs ADEM with input from the Alabama Solid Waste Advisory Committee and the Alabama Department of Public Health to adopt new rules and regulations for landfills. This act, enacted in May, specified the 24-month moratorium on the issuance of new or modified permits; however, during this time the Arrowhead Landfill permit was renewed and modified to expand in size without adding any public protections or taking into account previous public comment.

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  • A lawsuit is filed in Perry County Circuit Court against the companies operating the landfill, contending that negligent management has led to violations of environmental rules.

  • The water treatment facility in Marion stops taking leachate, or toxic waste water, from the landfill after they learn that David Ludder is planning to sue because the levels of arsenic in the creek downstream exceed that allowable for drinking water.

  • The owners of Arrowhead Landfill begin Chapter Eleven bankruptcy proceedings. Since they eventually were granted their request, the new lawsuits against them were dropped.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency is still figuring out what to do with the millions of tons of coal ash that spilled through a broken levy levee in eastern Tennessee last December.

  • Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner Jr., son of a Civil Rights leader who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., testified to a U. S. House Subcommittee that the Arrowhead Landfill was an economic blessing for Perry County and they should send more coal ash.

  • Environmental lawyer David Ludder announces his intentions to sue the two owners of Arrowhead Landfill, alleging violations of the federal Solid Waste Disposal Act and the Clean Air Act.

  • TVA begins shipping coal ash south

    July 1, 2009 — December 1, 2010

    Who’s going to protect the people who live and work there?

  • How about this for the Public’s Right to Know?

    June 24, 2009

    After one day’s notice, the first organized public meeting to discuss the shipments of ash is held, one week before the shipments begin. Cureton said, “This gives us an opportunity to fund our schools [and] to help build our roads, to… enhance the lives of individuals.”

  • Perry County Commission votes to accept coal ash

    June 8, 2009

    TVA flew Commissioners Albert Turner Jr., Fairest Cureton, and Tim Sanderson; Uniontown Mayor Jamal Hunter; and some others to Tennessee to talk with scientists and officials from the federal government, TVA, and industry. The Perry County Commission then vote to accept the landfill and its ash.

  • In the early morning hours of December 22, 2008, the earthen wall of a containment pond at Tennessee’s Kingston Fossil Plant gave way. The breach released 1.3 million cubic meters (1.7 million cubic yards) of fly ash—a coal-combustion waste product captured and stored in wet form.

  • TVA Coal Ash spill at Kingston fossil plant

    December 22, 2008

    The collapse of a dike led to a major spill of coal ash at the Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee, which is owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal government corporation. Coal ash is a byproduct of a coal-fired power plant that contains many toxic heavy materials, including mercury, selenium, lead, manganese, chromium, cobalt, magnesium, and arsenic. Scientists say, Exposure to the ash can lead to increased risk of damage to the lungs, liver, kidneys, and other organs.

  • Arrowhead Landfill opens


    The Arrowhead Landfill in Uniontown opens despite local opposition. Two Perry County Commissioners who supported the project were voted out of office including longtime politician Johnny Flowers.

  • Concerned Citizens of Perry County file lawsuits opposing landfill

    2004 — 2006

    Concerned Citizens of Perry County, including both black and white members, file lawsuits opposing the landfill and discuss its dangers on a weekly radio show. Nevertheless, the plan is adopted in 2005 and put into action in 2006.

  • County Solid Waste Plan with landfill drafted

    November 18, 2003

    The Perry County Commission in Marion, Alabama approves a draft of a new county solid waste plan, including the landfill. According to Mayor Jamaal Hunter and County Commissioner Albert Turner Jr., Uniontown would benefit because it was facing many financial hardships, including electric utilities debts and IRS liens on the city’s tax revenues. The agreement would bring the county about $4 million and employ dozens of people, at least for a while.