“Pollution, Poverty And Pandemic: A Community On Edge”

“TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Over a lifetime on the industrial side of this university town, Antonia Brand has become accustomed to breathing bad air.

The mother of two stood on her doorstep just east of Stillman College, a historically Black college and an anchor in the community. Her home is minutes from an industrial park along the Black Warrior River, where an oil refinery owned by Hunt Refining Co. is flanked by a Michelin tire plant. A train yard crowded with oil cars is a short walk from Brand's home.

“It's awful,” she said on a cool day earlier this year, referencing the fumes coming from the train yard.

To Brand, 40, who has asthma, there are no simple answers to her concerns about the health effects of living close to the refinery and the 80-year-old industrial hub.”

Sean Reilly reports for E&E News December 14, 2020, in part of the “Toxic Zone” series.