Tag: Environment

More Extreme Weather in Gulf States Means More Power Outages. Are Energy Companies Ready for It?

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is off to a busy start, and forecasters say it is likely to be as active as last year, when thousands were without power for weeks after hurricanes Laura, Zeta, Cristobal and Delta hit the Gulf South.

Climate studies show that a more-active hurricane season is just one of the new normals that climate change is bringing to the region, and with that comes bigger threats to the power grid. Read more.

Farmers Prefer Too Much Rain to Too Little but Say Enough’s Enough as They Watch Crops Drown

MONTGOMERY — Alabama farmers are looking at this summer’s unusually heavy rains as both a blessing and a curse.

Large amounts of rainfall are great for crops such as corn and wheat, but vegetable and fruit growers are having to abandon a large portion of their crop, especially in south Alabama.

“We’ve probably gotten a year’s worth of rain in three months,” Jeremy Sessions, a farmer in Mobile County told Alabama Daily News. Read more.

How to Prepare for a Tornado

It comes with the turf when you live in the South. Tornado season typically begins in March and lasts through May. Maybe you’ve weathered multiple storms or perhaps it’s your first season. Either way, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest on how to prepare. We’ve got you covered with this guide. Read more.

Enviro Groups Argue Ala. Power Plant Permit Could Violate Federal Sulfur Rules

Gasp and the Sierra Club have challenged a permit issued for operation of Plant Barry, near Mobile, saying it could allow the plant to emit sulfur dioxide at levels that violate federal standards.

Sulfur dioxide is a major contributor to fine particle air pollution that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined can, even in exposure of five minutes, cause decrements in lung function, aggravation of asthma, and respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity. Studies also have linked it to premature death. Read more.

Environmental Groups Say Water Board Isn’t Effectively Protecting Drinking Water Supply

Two local environmentalist groups are suing the Birmingham Water Works Board alleging it failed to comply with a 2001 consent decree that ordered protection of undeveloped land around the Cahaba River watershed, a major source of Birmingham’s drinking water.

Cahaba Riverkeeper and the Cahaba River Society, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, have filed a complaint in Jefferson County Circuit Court hoping to compel the BWWB to place permanent protections, overseen by an independent third party, on its land holdings surrounding the Cahaba River, the Little Cahaba River and Lake Purdy.

The lawsuit cites the worry that, because the land in question is “some of the last undeveloped land in a rapidly urbanizing area,” the BWWB may cave to “intense development pressure.”

In some cases, plaintiffs say, the board already has. Read more.

ADEM Holds First of Three Public Hearings on Alabama Power’s Coal Ash Pond Disposal Plans

Environmentalists and members of the coal industry filed into West Jefferson Town Hall Tuesday evening to give feedback on a proposed permit to allow Alabama Power Company to cover a local coal ash pond and leave the pollutants in place.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management hosted Tuesday’s event as part of its efforts to gather public comments on the permit, which specifically concerns the Plant Miller Ash Pond near West Jefferson. The permit outlines requirements for managing the coal ash, including facility maintenance and groundwater monitoring.

Alabama Power is seeking to treat and remove water from the pond before covering the coal ash in place, according to its website. Material located within 450 yards of the river would be excavated and moved farther away. Alabama Power also would monitor groundwater around the facility for at least 30 years. Read more.

Gov. Kay Ivey Surveys Aftermath of Hurricane Sally

WBHM

Gov. Kay Ivey visited parts of Alabama’s coast Friday to survey damage from Hurricane Sally, which struck the coast on Wednesday as a Category 2 storm.

“What I’ve seen this morning in the fly over – it’s really, really bad,” Ivey said. “I think that I only saw two piers that were still standing. The rest are just sticks in the water.” Read more.

ADEM: 3M to Pay to Clean Up PFAS Chemicals It Illegally Dumped in North Alabama

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.

Court Decisions Boost Hopes of Pipeline Opponents

An Alabama clean-water advocate has applauded a federal judge’s order to shut down, at least temporarily, a section of the Dakota oil pipeline in North Dakota. Opponents of the pipeline sought the order, issued on July 7, on grounds that it threatens the Standing Rock Sioux reservation’s drinking water and sacred grounds.

That and other recent court decisions have boosted the hopes of environment, public health and clean-energy advocates who seek to reduce or end the nation’s use of fossil fuels to generate energy. Even oil and gas industries say the “increasing legal uncertainty” that overhangs energy and industrial infrastructure projects will challenge their ability to contribute to U.S. energy needs.

Read more.