Tag: government

Opinion | Who does Alabama’s environmental watchdog work for? Not you. – al.com

Because as LeFleur and ADEM have shown again and again, these people aren’t people at all, but rather the industries that make it unsafe for real people to live.

If there’s one thing that people across the political spectrum can agree on, it’s this: When a granddad takes his grandchildren to fish in the river, when they catch a fish, they should be able to eat that fish without worry of impairing the little ones’ brain development.

That won’t be a problem on the Mulberry Fork. For a while, at least, there won’t be any fish there to catch.

And it’s not just the fish, either. It’s the water. The water we play in. The water we drink.

via Who does Alabama’s environmental watchdog work for? Not you. – al.com

Nearly 150 geese euthanized in Montgomery over health concerns | WHNT.com

Nearly 150 Canada geese have been removed and euthanized from a suburban Montgomery community after complaints about goose feces raised health concerns, officials said.

Tanya Espinosa, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture told WSFA-TV that the agency removed 148 geese from a residential community in Pike Road and “humanely euthanized them.”

The department’s Wildlife Services helps managed damage related to Canada geese. Espinosa said under Alabama law it was not possible to relocate the geese instead of euthanizing them.

via Nearly 150 geese euthanized in Montgomery over health concerns | WHNT.com

State of Alabama permitted 3M to release toxic chemicals into Tennessee River for years, records show | WHNT.com

In April, 3M reported to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management that it was discharging chemicals that are illegal to put into water. But records show that the state of Alabama had been alerted for years and did not stop the continued release of the toxic chemical into the Tennessee River.

via State of Alabama permitted 3M to release toxic chemicals into Tennessee River for years, records show | WHNT.com

Professional anglers group gets $150,000 in Alabama budget – al.com

The Major League Fishing Anglers Association, part of a larger organization that holds made-for-television bass tournaments, will receive $150,000 from Alabama taxpayers in the state budget next year, one of about a dozen entities receiving money passed through the state Tourism Department.

via Professional anglers group gets $150,000 in Alabama budget – al.com

Estimated 175,000 fish killed in Black Warrior River after huge wastewater spill | WBMA

Chris Greene with the state fisheries department says their conservative estimate is that 175,000 fish were killed.

He called the incident “significant” and said it will take some time to replenish the river.

Locals are calling on Tyson Foods, which owns the company that spilled this waste water, to clean up their operations.

via Estimated 175,000 fish killed in Black Warrior River after huge wastewater spill | WBMA

‘If we don’t burn it, nature will’: Georgia blazes old fears, leads nation in prescribed fire | Southerly

Fire managers across the United States are grappling with more frequent, extreme wildfires caused in part by a changing climate and nearly a century of ardent fire suppression. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, increasing temperatures along with the knee-jerk tendency to extinguish fire has created an environment ripe for higher-intensity, larger flames, according to a study published last month in Ecosphere.

But the Southeast takes a different approach to fire.

In 2018, Georgia, Florida and Alabama prescribed burns to more than 4 million acres of land, while the remaining 47 states and territories burned about 2 million acres combined, according to data collected by the National Interagency Fire Center and analyzed by Climate Central. Experts warn this data may undercount prescribed burning, but a country-wide survey by the National Association of State Foresters and the Coalition of Prescribed Fire Councils similarly found that, in 2017, the Southeast was responsible for two-thirds of the nation’s prescribed burns.

Although each state requires a different amount of prescribed burning to sustain a healthy ecosystem, many states with sizable amounts of federal and state lands aren’t meeting their goals. Staff at the U.S. Forest Service, which treated only about 1% of the nearly 200 million acres of land it manages with prescribed burns in 2018, are alarmed by their own agency’s lack of burning. For the first time in history, they’re considering restructuring the agency to facilitate more prescribed fires.

via ‘If we don’t burn it, nature will’: Georgia blazes old fears, leads nation in prescribed fire | Southerly

Franklin Haney’s $1 million donation to Trump faces scrutiny in Alabama nuclear plant deal – al.com / Associated Press

Real estate mogul Franklin Haney contributed $1 million to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee and all he’s got to show for the money is the glare of a federal investigation.

The contribution from Haney, a prolific political donor, came as he was seeking regulatory approval and financial support from the government for his long-shot bid to acquire the mothballed Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in northeastern Alabama. More than two years later, he still hasn’t closed the deal.

via Franklin Haney’s $1 million donation to Trump faces scrutiny in Alabama nuclear plant deal – al.com

Federal court rules Alabama coal company Drummond is violating Clean Water Act | Southern Environmental Law Center

An Alabama federal judge has ruled that Drummond Company is violating the Clean Water Act at its Maxine Mine site by continuously discharging acid mine drainage into the Black Warrior River’s Locust Fork. In an order issued May 7, Judge Abdul Kallon rejected Drummond’s arguments that the Clean Water Act does not apply to ongoing pollution originating from a substantial coalmine waste pile left when mining operations ceased.

The lawsuit was filed in 2016 by Black Warrior Riverkeeper, represented by SELC and Public Justice. This week’s ruling granted Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s motion for summary judgment seeking to hold Drummond liable for these discharges. Additional liability claims by Black Warrior Riverkeeper, as well as the determination of an appropriate remedy for the site, will be determined later at trial.

via Federal court rules Alabama coal company Drummond is violating Clean Water Act | Southern Environmental Law Center

The EPA wanted to clean up toxic soil in Alabama. Why did a lobbyist, a lawyer and a legislator try to stop them? – The Washington Post

In autumn of 2013, a senior executive from a powerful coal company and a lawyer from one of the state’s most influential firms hashed out a strategy for avoiding a serious — and expensive — problem.

The Environmental Protection Agency wanted to clean up toxic soil in the 35th Avenue Superfund site in north Birmingham, where residents, about 95 percent of them African Americans, live in the shadow of massive waste berms, industrial chimneys, and the fortresses of steel, coking and cement manufacturing.

via The EPA wanted to clean up toxic soil in Alabama. Why did a lobbyist, a lawyer and a legislator try to stop them? – The Washington Post

‘We’re not a dump’ – poor Alabama towns struggle under the stench of toxic landfills | US news | The Guardian

West Jefferson, Alabama, a somnolent town of around 420 people north-west of Birmingham, was an unlikely venue to seize the national imagination. Now, it has the misfortune to be forever associated with the “poop train”.

via ‘We’re not a dump’ – poor Alabama towns struggle under the stench of toxic landfills | US news | The Guardian

Birmingham City Council applauded for opposition to Cahaba Beach Road project | Southern Environmental Law Center

Last week, the Birmingham City Council unanimously passed a resolution to oppose Cahaba Beach Road, a proposed project which would allow the Alabama Department of Transportation to build a road and bridge through the heart of an undeveloped area that safeguards Birmingham’s drinking water.

Along with numerous conservation organizations, local communities and elected officials, SELC and partners Cahaba River Society and Cahaba Riverkeeper have expressed serious concerns about the project’s harm to drinking water quality for the Birmingham region.

via Birmingham City Council applauded for opposition to Cahaba Beach Road project | Southern Environmental Law Center

Alabama’s long-awaited water report signals progress toward a statewide plan | Southern Environmental Law Center

Lagging behind neighboring states for decades, Alabama has gone through multiple droughts without a water management plan to help conserve water and protect the state’s rivers and streams during times of scarcity. The lack of a plan also puts Alabama at a disadvantage as the state navigates through competing water demands.

After years of advocating for a comprehensive plan and participating in the AWAWG focus panels, SELC and Alabama Rivers Alliance have been anxiously awaiting the release of the report to help inform leadership at the state level and provide guidelines for good water stewardship and protection. But discernable progress toward a plan has been slow, and appeared to be further hindered when the current governor announced plans to disband the AWAWG late last year. Governor Kay Ivey’s decision put the responsibility of developing a plan back on the Alabama Office of Water Resources and the Alabama Water Resources Commission.

via Alabama’s long-awaited water report signals progress toward a statewide plan | Southern Environmental Law Center

Here’s Who’s Been Dumping Toxic Waste in the Coosa – Coosa Riverkeeper

Did you know that nearly one million pounds of toxic chemicals are dumped into the Coosa River each year? Nearly 95% of that waste comes from two Koch Foods chicken processing plants near Gadsden in the form of nitrate compounds. Excessive nitrogen pollution stimulates the growth of aquatic plants, weeds and algae, which fishermen and lake goers alike know grow in excess on Coosa River lakes. Too much nitrogen in drinking water can also be harmful to young children and livestock.

When looking at the most harmful chemicals though, the Gaston Steam Plant in Wilsonville and the Resolute Forest Products Coosa Pines paper mill in Childersburg outpace others. In fact, Alabama Power’s Gaston Steam Plant released three times as much developmental toxins to the river, at 473 pounds, as all the other facilities in the basin combined.

via Here’s Who’s Been Dumping Toxic Waste in the Coosa – Coosa Riverkeeper

Analysis: Network Use Charges for Rooftop Solar | Solar Works

Alabama Power currently imposes a $5 per kilowatt monthly “capacity reserve charge” on solar and other types of distributed generation. This charge affects not only rooftop solar and residential customers, but also small businesses and schools who rely in part on solar installations to offset the energy they consume and buy from Alabama Power.

This particular fixed charge for rooftop solar not only unfairly burdens Alabama Power customers who install rooftop solar, but also reduces up to 50 percent of the savings customers could enjoy by going solar. Similar, prohibitive fixed charges for rooftop solar have been proposed, approved or rejected across the U.S. To add insult to injury, the Alabama Public Service Commission’s (PSC) approved the Alabama Power fixed charge in January 2013 without any public input or justification.

via Analysis: Network Use Charges for Rooftop Solar | Solar Works

A matter of life and death: Saving Alabama’s rural hospitals – al.com

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.

via A matter of life and death: Saving Alabama’s rural hospitals – al.com