Monday, the EPA Administrator for Region 4, Onis “Trey” Glenn III has resigned just days after a Jefferson County grand jury returned indictments against Glenn and former Alabama Environmental Management Commissioner (AEMC) Scott Phillips on multiple counts of conspiracy and/or complicity to violate the Alabama Ethics Act.
“I offer my resignation,” Glenn wrote. “As you know, unfounded charges have been leveed against me that I must and will fight. Stepping down now, I hope removes any distraction from you and all the great people who work at EPA as you carry out the Agency’s mission,” Glenn wrote in his resignation letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
The executive director of the environmental group. GASP, that has been fighting to clean up the 35th Avenue site, Michael Hanson said in a statement, “We applaud Trey Glenn for doing the right thing and stepping aside. We urge Wheeler and President Trump to appoint someone to replace Glenn with someone whose integrity and dedication to the environment and public health is beyond reproach.”
Former state Representative Oliver Robinson, D-Birmingham, has admitted accepting bribes from then Drummond Vice President David Roberson in a transaction brokered by Balch & Bingham partner Joel Gilbert to cooperate in Drummond’s efforts to defeat an EPA proposal to prioritize and expand the 35th Avenue EPA Superfund site in North Birmingham. While both Roberson and Gilbert maintained their innocence, they were both indicted by a federal grand jury and then convicted in a trial that took weeks.
Phillips and Glenn were charged with multiple counts of conspiracy and/or complicity with Phillips to violate the 2010 Alabama Ethics Act. Prosecutors claim Phillips used his public position for personal gain, and Glenn helped him do it. Phillips is a former member and onetime Chair of the Alabama Environmental Management Commission (AEMC), the appointed body that makes environmental policy for the state. Glenn is a former Director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and had been appointed to lead the seven-state EPA Region 4 by President Donald J. Trump (R). ADEM and the AEMC rejected the EPA’s proposal to expand the 35th Avenue Superfund site while Glenn and Phillips were heading those organizations. Environmentalists claim that reforms are needed at ADEM.
Robinson has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison. Roberson was sentenced to 60 months and Gilbert was sentenced to 30 months.
Jefferson County District Attorney Mike Anderton (R) brought the charges before the grand jury after the matter was brought to his attention by the Alabama Ethics Commission.
Glenn and Phillips have merely been indicted and will have their chance to defend themselves against the charges before a jury of their peers. Everyone is presumed innocent until they have been found guilty by a jury.