• Donald V. Watkins

Thank You, Alabama Power Company

By Donald V. Watkins

©Copyrighted and Published on May 21, 2019


Sherman Industries signaled today that it may not move its downtown concrete batch plant to the Five Points West community and may seek an alternative site that is zoned for this business. In a statement released today, Lehigh Hanson spokesman Jeff Sieg said:


“Sherman Industries intends to continue working with the city and the community to improve everyone’s understanding of the scope of our project and trying to identify a mutually acceptable solution at Fayette Avenue in Five Points West, or possibly an equally viable location that is, like the Fayette Avenue site, properly zoned for this business.”


Lehigh Hanson is the U.S. parent company of Sherman Industries, LLC. The HeidelbergCement Group is the parent company of Lehigh Hanson. The HeidelbergCement Company was a collaborator with the Nazis during World War II. Only one of the company’s board members distanced himself from Adolf Hitler’s Holocaust that killed six million Black Germans, Jews, Gypsies, and Gay Germans.


The fight with Sherman Industries is not over, but it may be ending in the near future.


After I published Sunday’s article titled, “Why Randall Woodfin will not fight Sherman Industries,” I received several off-the-record-phone calls about this explosive situation. During three lengthy phone calls, I suggested that Sherman Industries needed to find another home for its concrete batch plant. I also indicated that Alabama Power Company could solve this dilemma for Mayor Randall Woodfin because, as I explained in my article, he is the company’s political puppet. Alabama Power created Woodfin, financed his campaign, and controls his political agenda. Former Alabama Power Company executive Bobbie Knight co-chaired Woodfin's transition committee.


After my three phone calls, I was cautiously optimistic that Alabama Power Company would use its substantial influence in the business community and political arena to de-escalate the rising tensions in this matter.


Thank you, Alabama Power Company for helping to resolve an environmental justice issue that was NOT of your making. This demonstrates your positive leadership in the community.


Thank you, Five Points West neighborhood leaders (most of whom are female) for standing up to Sherman Industries. You were not afraid to protect your neighborhood from a known air polluter. When our men have been weak and compromised, our women have always stood tall.


Thank you, Steven Hoyt and Joseph Cole for “blowing the whistle” on Sherman Industries and Randall Woodfin last month. The company's controversial relocation plan had been greased, but the two of you pulled the covers off the bed so that we could see who was making love under the sheets.


Thank you, William Bell for showing us that a concrete batch plant has no place in the city limits by the example you set when you ran Ready Mix USA out of a downtown neighborhood in 2017.


Thank you, Michael Hansen and GASP for educating me on the many dangers of air pollution.


Thank you, citizens of Birmingham for mitigating the vestiges of 1930s-era environmental racism that are embedded in the city's zoning ordinances.


Stay vigilant, everybody! Monitor and verify every aspect of this matter very closely. Our work is far from over.


PHOTO: Sherman Industries site in downtown Birmingham, Alabama


© 2020 by Donald V. Watkins, P.C.