David Roberson

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David L. Roberson (born c. 1951) is a former Alabama Power Company environmental affairs executive, an official for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, executive director of the Alabama Coal Association, and vice-president for government and regulatory affairs for the Drummond Company from 2011 to 2019.

Roberson graduated from Central High School in Florence and earned a bachelor's degree at Auburn University.

In the 1980s, Roberson chaired the Business Council of Alabama's Environment and Energy Committee and helped create its Alabama Waste Minimization Advisory Committee, which, in turn, formed the Birmingham-based Waste Reduction and Technology Transfer Foundation, which Roberson also chaired.

Robersonalso worked as a legislative liaison for the Alabama Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America, chaired the Alabama Scrap Tire Commission, and chaired the Alabama Land Recycling and Economic Redevelopment Commission. In 2004 Roberson was tapped to join U.S. Representative Artur Davis' "Environmental Justice Policy Working Group".

In 2013 Drummond was notified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it was a "potentially responsible party" for efforts to remove toxic pollutants from the 35th Avenue Superfund Site in North Birmingham. A year later the agency proposed expanding the site to include areas in Inglenook and Tarrant, and to add the site to its National Priorities List. Those actions could have made Drummond liable for an estimated $100 million or more in clean-up costs.

Beginning in the Summer of 2014, Roberson conspired with state legislator Oliver Robinson to stir up community opposition to the EPA's efforts. He was made director of the "Alliance for Jobs and the Economy" which solicited contributions and then made payments to the Oliver Robinson Foundation, in a scheme arranged by Balch & Bingham attorney Joel Gilbert. Those payments were characterized by federal prosecutors as bribes. Roberson and Gilbert were convicted at trial in July 2018 and sentenced to prison. Judge Abdul Kallon reduced Roberson's sentence based on testimony that he had trusted reassurances from the attorney that the arrangement was legal, and based on testimony from others about Roberson's personal character. They both appealed their convictions.

In February 2019, immediately after the statute of limitations for legal malpractice had expired, Roberson was fired by Drummond CEO Mike Tracey. He responded with a $50 million lawsuit claiming that he had been misled and "set up" to protect others.

References

  • Bayerle, Dana (August 20, 2006) "Environmental groups question contract for tire cleanup in Attalla." Gadsden Times
  • Hrynkiw, Ivana (October 13, 2018) "Former Drummond V.P. and Balch lawyer sentenced to federal prison." The Birmingham News
  • "How a lawyer, a lobbyist and a legislator waged war on a Birmingham Superfund site." (April 24, 2019) The Washington Post