Because of the fee, 65-year-old Thorne says it’ll take almost two decades to pay back her panels.
“Yes,” she says and laughs, “I may not be alive.”
Green energy groups say this solar fee is a key reason why, according to Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association, Alabama comes in 48th out of 50 states in residential solar capacity. (North Dakota and South Dakota trail Alabama).
The length and bag limits of two of Alabama’s most popular inshore fish species will likely change soon after proposals by the Alabama Marine Resources Division were approved last weekend by the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board.
Under the new regulations, spotted seatrout (speckled trout) and southern flounder will have reduced bag limits to deal with concerns that the species are not able to sustain healthy populations.
A bill to allow hunters to buy licenses to hunt deer and feral hogs over bait has passed the Alabama Legislature after several years of falling short.
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.
Too much pine and not enough saw mills spell years of depressed prices for plantations.
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.
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.
Residents in and near Birmingham have been in uproar over sewage that is transported by train and truck from New York and New Jersey to be dumped in the southern state.
The treated sewage – euphemistically known in the industry as “biosolids” – has plagued residents with a terrible stench, flies and concerns that spilled sludge has leaked into waterways.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leaning forward on a plush chair with his hands clasped so tightly his knuckles were white, Mitch Reid wondered aloud what Theodore Roosevelt might think of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, which calls for a 31-percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency.
If passed in its current form, Reid said, the budget will be severely detrimental to the preservation of the Alabama’s natural resources — and he is angry about it.