Editor’s note: Birmingham real estate attorney and regular news commentator Guy V. Martin recently wrote an op-ed for The Birmingham News and AL.com pointing out some of the legal and scientific inconsistencies with much of the media narrative that has characterized the effort to expand an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site into Tarrant. Days later, AL Political Reporter Columnist Josh Moon published a column calling Martin’s work “absurd, fact-less and idiotic,” “nauseating, infuriating and pathetic,” and suggested Martin had been paid by those involved with the case to write it.
Martin attempted to defend himself via a published response on the same site but was unsuccessful. He asked Alabama Daily News to publish his response and we obliged.
Mr. Bill Britt, Editor in Chief, Alabama Political Reporter:
As the author of the piece Mr. Moon criticized, I’d like to submit this response—you may want to coin a title, but one like, “Science Trumps Stupidity” would be close to the mark.
To Mr. Moon’s scathing response to my op-ed about the Tarrant, Balch & Bingham and Drummond controversy, my reply is short. Mr. Moon should do the following: First, re-read my article from the perspective not of a writer on the right or left, and not “carrying water” for Balch or Drummond, but from that of an attorney whose experience with the EPA gave rise to the op-ed. Second, send me his email address so I can forward the hard evidence referred to in my article. Third, he should read that evidence and have it posted on his reporter’s website for his readers to study.
I provided that hard evidence to the Birmingham News: (1) The EPA’s August 3, 2016 letter to the Mayor of Tarrant finding no pollution; (2) the EPA’s July 2016 Site Inspection Report in support; and (3) the Newfields study establishing that the EPA’s earlier testing procedures—used at the 35th Avenue site—were blatantly biased and, to use my term, bogus. He should face the fact that when the EPA tested the Tarrant site, the EPA changed its testing procedures, presumably because the EPA knew its testers were being watched, and as a result, found no pollution at the Tarrant site. The letter is tantamount to an admission that the Newfields conclusions were correct—and thus that the “bogus testing” shoe fits. Moon and his readers might also learn from the motion to dismiss the indictment and government reply briefs which contain even the government’s characterization of the facts and conduct involved (I’ll send both for posting). As I wrote, what happened here was far from Chicago-styled money grabs, and corruption law is tricky. Calling both briefs excellent and saying who knows what the Circuit will do on appeal hardly amount to an endorsement of Joel Gilbert, Balch or Drummond. As far as Balch is involved, I’d defend almost any law firm I felt falsely accused of killing children, especially if doing so drew focus on the underlying cause, here, the EPA.
Too bad we have so many poisoned-pen writers in this state, whose leaning is more obvious than the Tower of Pisa. I’m a moderate whose time with leaders like the late Senator Howell Heflin left me with the unshakeable conviction that we need both the right and the left if we’re to make progress in this nation. Bottom line: As our planet faces problems such as global warming, we need faith in our scientists and federal agencies, especially the EPA. When the EPA engages in bogus testing—which the hard evidence in this matter establishes—that gets blown up by the Santa Ana winds of the press and zealots into one big quagmire of confused citizens and false accusations.
Guy V. Martin, Jr.
PS: Mr. Britt, Al.com held my piece until after I met with John Archibald (who for two years ran stories about pollution, corruption and killing children). John and I had a productive talk, following which the Birmingham News ran my piece. I’d be happy to meet with Mr. Moon or you to the same end.
Newfields Study of 35th Avenue Site finding the Obama-era EPA “used flawed and biased approaches, inconsistent with EPA policies, practices, and guidance, to derive the ‘background’ concentrations of arsenic and benzo(a]pyrene.”
Guy V. Martin, Jr., is a former Adjunct Professor at the University of Alabama School of Law and a retired teacher at the Birmingham School of Law. He has worked extensively on projects such as the Turf Club, downtown hotels (the PickWick complex, Redmont and Tutwiler), Crossplex, and various public ventures, including several with his cousin, the late David Vann, former Mayor of Birmingham, during the Arrington years. He is semi-retired, and serves as a Director of The Foundry Ministries.