NAHEOLA, Alabama — Georgia-Pacific today announced plans to invest more than $120 million to add a new tissue machine and roll storage building at its mill in Choctaw County, the latest substantial investment in the facility.
The new projects continue Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific’s modernization of the Naheola mill, which includes ongoing construction of a new biomass boiler and woodyard. Georgia-Pacific said the modernization projects position the mill and its overall business to be competitive in the market.
A water trail that flows through the heart of Alabama’s biodiversity.
via Cahaba Blueway
The river is changing, and it’s changing quickly.
The biggest culprit, Butler says, is the massive, rapid development throughout much of the watershed, as fields and forests turn into subdivisions, stores, and parking lots. That’s less sensational or obvious than toxic waste barrels being dumped into the water, but it still can cause problems.
The racial element of America’s poverty crisis is seen nowhere more clearly than in the Deep South, where the open wounds of slavery continue to bleed. The UN special rapporteur chose as his next stop the “Black Belt,” the term that originally referred to the rich dark soil that exists in a band across Alabama but over time came to describe its majority African American population.
The link between soil type and demographics was not coincidental. Cotton was found to thrive in this fertile land, and that in turn spawned a trade in slaves to pick the crop. Their descendants still live in the Black Belt, still mired in poverty among the worst in the union.
A United Nations official investigating poverty in the United States was shocked at the level of environmental degradation in some areas of rural Alabama, saying he had never seen anything like it in the developed world.
“I think it’s very uncommon in the First World. This is not a sight that one normally sees. I’d have to say that I haven’t seen this,” Philip Alston, the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, told Connor Sheets of AL.com earlier this week as they toured a community in Butler County where “raw sewage flows from homes through exposed PVC pipes and into open trenches and pits.”
A United Nations official who tours the globe investigating extreme poverty said Thursday that areas of Alabama’s Black Belt are suffering the most dire sewage disposal crisis of any place he has visited in a developed country.
Our rural hospital closure crisis is not just a health crisis, but an economic one as well. In many rural communities, the relationship between the existence of a hospital and economic development is critical to the overall success of the community. When the only hospital in a county closes or doesn’t exist, it becomes nearly impossible to attract and maintain industry, jobs, and people. Public health is compromised. For example, a Tuberculosis outbreak has plagued the citizens of Perry County since 2014. The infection rate there is 100 times the national average and higher than rates in India, Kenya, and Haiti. Further, as we’ve seen in recent international news reports, the rates of hookworm in Lowndes County are appalling and shameful at 33 percent due in part to the inadequate wastewater infrastructure there.
Children playing feet away from open pools of raw sewage; drinking water pumped beside cracked pipes of untreated waste; human faeces flushed back into kitchen sinks and bathtubs whenever the rains come; people testing positive for hookworm, an intestinal parasite that thrives on extreme poverty.
These are the findings of a new study into endemic tropical diseases, not in places usually associated with them in the developing world of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, but in a corner of the richest nation on earth: Alabama.
When a disease outbreak occurs, Chaisson explained, “the norm is panic, for people to demand testing from the health department, and you can’t do it fast enough.” But the Hill has never been much for demands. The town of Marion sits in the belly of the Black Belt — historically, a ribbon of seventeen counties in central Alabama and parts of northeastern Mississippi, where whites enslaved black people to farm cotton in the dark, fertile soil; the term has come to refer broadly to predominantly African-American areas in the rural South. Across the Black Belt, there is grave poverty; Alabama is the fourth-most-impoverished state in the nation, and Perry is its worst-off county — 47 percent of residents live below the poverty line. The burden is shouldered unequally, as the poverty rate in Perry County is three times higher for black people than for whites. Jim Crow is gone, yet segregation lingers, along with its associated injustices. While Black Belt districts typically go blue, the rest of their states are deep red; last year, after the state of Alabama enacted a law requiring photo identification to vote and then promptly closed D.M.V. offices in Black Belt counties, a federal investigation confirmed that this targeting amounted to discrimination.
Some call it a boon to industrial development and commercial trade in Alabama and Mississippi.
Others say it’s a boondoggle, a waste of two billion taxpayer dollars that cost farmers their land and animals their habitat.