Tag: Alabama Department of Environmental Management
The 3M Company and Alabama regulators have entered into a consent agreement that will require the company to clean up pollution from “forever chemicals” from its plant in Decatur and other sites in the Tennessee Valley area.
The chemicals are in a class of environmentally persistent pollutants known as per- and polyfluiorinated substances and commonly referred to as PFAS chemicals. 3M has produced PFAS chemicals for decades at Decatur. The compounds are used in non-stick and non-absorbent materials such as cookware, fabric protectants and firefighting foam. They do not break down in the environment.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management announced the consent order Friday. It requires the company to clean up the chemicals and commits it to assessing sites in north Alabama counties to determine the presence of PFAS and take steps to reduce their levels.
ADEM Director Lance LeFleur stated that the order is the nation’s “most far-reaching and significant enforcement action to date” concerning PFAS. Congress has pressed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop national standards for the chemicals. LeFleur said the agreement “puts Alabama ahead of the game in regulating these harmful compounds,” and increases the department’s control over the substances. Read more.
Alabama Department of Environmental Management Director Lance LeFleur, who survived scathing attacks from environmental groups on his job performance last year, faces renewed efforts to remove him from office this year.
The department’s overseeing body, the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, announced this week that it is seeking public comment on LeFleur’s record as head of the state’s environmental regulatory department for his annual job review.
Negative comments about LeFleur’s job record last year centered on his handling of industrial pollution in north Birmingham and whether the Environmental Protection Agency’s 35th Avenue Superfund site should be expanded. Criticism of LeFleur’s department this year has included its handling of industrial pollution discharges that have resulted in large fish kills on the Mulberry Fork as well as water quality issues on the Tennessee River near Decatur. Read more.
If a tanker truck overturns and spills a load of petroleum on a roadside or into a creek, local governments likely will have to cover the cost of the clean-up.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management used to set aside $500,000 to help counties and municipalities with disaster response. That went away with state budget cuts last year, and ADEM expects the same this year, according to Director Lance LeFleur. They also are bracing for another financial whammy with the president’s proposed severe budget cuts to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
“Don’t depend on us to be on-site” for anything other than major disasters such as the recent gasoline pipeline incidents in Shelby County, LeFleur said. “Don’t depend on us to be on-site” for anything other than major disasters such as the recent gasoline pipeline incidents in Shelby County, LeFleur said. Read more.
Environmental Protection Agency alarmed Alabama environmentalists still reeling from a recent gasoline pipeline leak and fatal explosion in Shelby County.
The Alabama Rivers Alliance’s program director Mitch Reid said, “Federal money isn’t extra money for us, it’s absolutely fundamental to the maintenance of clean water in Alabama. Any way you look at it, this throws a wrench in the steady state operation of water protection in Alabama.”