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kayman

Alabama's Environmental Issues

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Report sounds alarm on state's waters

The report compiled by both Alabama River Alliance and Southern Environmental Law Center reports that Alabama's water quality is in serious danger. It discusses how we have too many small individual agencies and no cooperation or enforcement of our water quality. ADEM is seriously underfunded and needs to funding for enforcement measures to ensure our drink water is safe.

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In an editorial today, the Montgomery Advertiser called for the state to adopt the water quality recommendations of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Alabama, one of only two Southeastern states with lower standards than the EPA recommends, has the sixth highest cancer death rate in the nation.

Kudos to the Advertiser for taking a stand for stricter water quality standards. I can't believe that our standards are so dangerously low.

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Rise in Alabama carbon dioxide emissions far exceeds national average

Between 1990 and 2004, carbon dioxide emissions in Alabama rose 29%, far exceeding the 18% national rise. Coal-fired electric power plants were responsible for two-thirds of the increase, and much of the rest resulted from cars and trucks.

Neither the Riley administration nor ADEM officials currently have any plans to address this. Alabama Power could modify their plants to reduce these emissions, but they will have to be forced to do so. That isn't likely to happen anytime soon.

Thoughts?

Mobile Press-Register: Above-average rise for carbon dioxide

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UP{sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}}Alabama discussion of water quality report and standards here.

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ADEM likely to weaken restrictions on building in wetlands

Republican State Senator Bradley Byrne, federal wildlife officials and coastal Alabama environmental groups are concerned by an Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) attempt to weaken state restrictions on building homes in wetlands.

ADEM officials indicated that they planned to favor less stringent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers guidelines on filling wetlands, instead of following state rules put in place in the 1990s. Corps rules would make it much easier for homeowners to fill coastal wetlands without obtaining a special permit. Current state rules forbid the filling of wetlands within the most sensitive coastal areas.

A former ADEM official said that the Corps of Engineers and local developers had been trying for years to get the state to adopt the weaker Corps guidelines.

This is simply unbelievable. We badly need leadership at ADEM committed to protecting our environment.

Mobile Press-Register: Groups oppose wetland changes

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when i worked for a small daily newspaper in north AL, several local townships and cities were struggling with massive fines levied by ADEM in the wake of various transgressions, or were reluctant to move forward with environmentally sensitive projects for fear of making honest engineering mistakes and facing the wrath of ADEM later. dams, waste water treatment facilities, industrial spec sites, and sewer extensions were all gridlocked while the civil engineers and lawyers obsessed over all the worst-case scenarios. i think that's great.

ADEM can be an effective enforcer of environmental policy, if things worked that way. i question the propriety of ADEM's role as a policy-making arm of state government, and would like to see it stick to its role as envirnomental liaison and enforcer. municipalities (i don't know about companies) live in mortal fear of ADEM and its past proclivity to fine big - not a bad thing in alabama. i would rather see an infrastructure project stalled for eternity than see it done poorly and without full diligence concerning environmental impacts - it only leads to erosion, contaminated ground water, damaged (in some cases badly damaged) local ecosystems, compromised quality of natural resources, and bankrupt towns who have to pour all their remaining money into ADEM fines.

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Urban sprawl endangering Alabama forests

According to a Mobile Press-Register special report, families and individuals own 78% of Alabama's forests, and are being forced to choose between ever-increasing forest maintenance costs and lucrative development opportunities.

Between 1997 and 2002, approximately 318,300 acres of rural land was developed in Alabama -- nearly the equivalent of paving an area the size of Huntsville every year.

The risk of losing our forest heritage is at an all-time high, and this report suggests ways to help family forest owners keep and better manage their land.

Mobile Press-Register: Urban sprawl endangering forests

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Forever Wild

State program purchases threatened wilderness tracts

Since 1992 the Forever Wild program, mostly funded by state oil and gas royalties from the Gulf of Mexico, purchased 56 tracts of land totalling nearly 124,000 acres.

A total rural land area nearly the size of Huntsville is developed each year in Alabama. Across the United States, an area about the size of Alabama was developed between 1982 and 2001.

This program is vital to our efforts to preserve the most ecologically sensitive areas in Alabama. I wish we could give it $100 million dollars or more every year.

Mobile Press-Register: Forever Wild about state conservation

Forever Wild program website

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One of the Alabama Power Plants at around the Jefferson County/Walker County line has recently received a $1-billion upgrade to make it more environmentally friendly. Should help Birmingham and Jefferson County be able to attract more industries. The EPA has put certain restrictions on industry development in Jefferson County based on the poor air quality. I'm glad Alabama Power took action on this. It's not only good for the environment, but good for the economic pursuits of this region.

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^Glad to see Alabama Power doing this. Hopefully they'll do this to all their similar plants.

--

Under a Bush administration recommendation, Alabama would get $2 million in federal money to help buy almost 1,600 acres in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta in north Baldwin County. Forever Wild would pitch in to reach the expected purchase price of $2.8 million. The property is surrounded by land already owned by Forever Wild. It's not known yet whether Congress will go along with the request.

Mobile Press-Register: Bill would steer money to Delta land purchase

Hopefully Congress will approve this request and help protect more of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.

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Three Alabama Power Company electricity plants ranked among the 50 dirtiest in the nation in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a recent ranking of the 378 largest coal-fired plants. Only Texas, Pennsylvania and Indiana had more plants on the list than Alabama.

Details in the article below.

Mobile Press-Register: Alabama Power on dirtiest plants list

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Unfortunately I doubt these stats will change anytime soon. Recently ADEM member, Glenn (I can't remember his first name, but 1 of his parents is the mayor of Wetumpka) was basically given a free weekend in the skybox of the Montgomery Biscuits by Alabama Power. Only God knows what the real agenda was behind why Alabama Power did this, but we can only guess it will lead to the continue laxation of regulation of their plants by ADEM. <_<

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EPA rips ADEM

The latest EPA report has deridden ADEM as an agency that has continued to now file penalities against policy violators. Also they said, "ADEM should document economic benefit and gravity for all penalties assessed." Simply put, ADEM is still be lackluster as they have been since forever. The only bright spots in the report were how the state seems to cooperate with other neighboring states' environmental management/protection agencies, and how the state compliance to the U.S. Clean Air Act.

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Forever Wild purchased nearly 9,800 acres of mountain and aquatic habitat in the Coosa Wildlife Management Area, along the Coosa River, to protect it from development. This is one of the largest areas purchased since the Forever Wild program began in 1992, and Forever Wild plans to ultimately purchase 26,000 acres of the 40,000-acre Coosa Wildlife Management Area. The area is mostly a mountain longleaf pine habitat, the rarest ecosystem in Alabama, more rare than longleaf pine on other soils and terrain.

I wish we could significantly increase funding for Forever Wild so that more of these tracts could be bought every year.

Birmingham News: Forever Wild buying land

Montgomery Advertiser: Forever Wild adds 10,000 acres in Coosa County

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced tougher smog (ozone concentration) requirements, likely throwing Birmingham and as many as four other Alabama metro areas into violation of the new rules. The Huntsville and Mobile metro areas are not expected to meet the new standard. Montgomery and Tuscaloosa may or may not meet the new standard, with results depending on the weather.

Alabama counties that do not meet the EPA's new smog standard:

Baldwin

Jefferson

Madison

Mobile

Morgan

Shelby

Source: EPA

Tighter ozone rules likely to affect area

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Great news on the environmental front this week... ADEM's board voted to tighten rules over the amount of cancer-causing agents that can be released into state waters. Alabama had been operating under the least stringent regulations allowed by the EPA, but the state now is in line with 28 other states with ten times tougher standards.

ADEM toughens carcinogenic regulations

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Great news on the environmental front this week... ADEM's board voted to tighten rules over the amount of cancer-causing agents that can be released into state waters. Alabama had been operating under the least stringent regulations allowed by the EPA, but the state now is in line with 28 other states with ten times tougher standards.

ADEM toughens carcinogenic regulations

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