ABC Coke’s hopes for renewal of its operating permit for another five years are now in the hands of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Jefferson County Department of Health submitted a proposed draft to the EPA for the permit renewal March 1, it announced today. Read more.
Environmentalists are warning that more than 80 percent of Alabamians receive their drinking water from sources that may lose critical protections under a proposed federal rule. The Waters of the U.S. rule was published Thursday in the Federal Register.
The Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Farmers Federation are among those hailing the proposal, which would greatly reduce the environmental permits required of landowners and developers for discharges of wastewater and runoff of stormwater.
The rule will become final following a 60-day public comment period. Submit comments via the federal rulemaking portal. Read more.
Alabama will be among the states most hit in the pocket book by changes due to global warming this century, even as it seems most Trumpian in its opposition to the issue.
The Birmingham-Hoover metro area is among the nation’s top 15 metro areas that will experience negative economic effects from increased heat and extreme weather events and other consequences.
A new county-by-county study by the Brookings Institution shows Alabama counties are among those facing the biggest long-term losses in income by the end of the 21st century. The analysis found that the top 10 states whose economy would suffer most include Alabama and eight others that voted for Trump, who has consistently downplayed or derided the idea of global warming.
In other words, people who are most exposed to climate impacts consistently vote for people who are opposed to doing much to mitigate climate change.
Adding insult to injury, a recent Department of Defense document named Reagan Operations Center in Huntsville and Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery as among the installations currently or in the future vulnerable to climate effects as it assessed “operational risks.” Flooding and damage from stronger, more frequent events such as hurricanes, health and safety effects from increased temperatures, and greater land management issues are among the risks named.
These warnings came just as congressional Democrats prepare to lay out a Green New Deal that envisions economic benefits of policies that would ameliorate the effects of global warming. Read more.
The EPA Superfund cleanup and ABC Coke’s proposed air emissions permit have dominated health concerns of residents in northern Birmingham neighborhoods for months. Now officials and residents of several neighborhoods there are attempting to form a coalition to broaden the concerns to other sources of possible pollution.
The flash point of the new effort is a scrap metal processor’s business license. The license was denied by a unanimous Birmingham City Council vote in March, but the owner successfully appealed the case in Jefferson County Circuit Court, which compelled the city to grant the license.
Catherine Evans, president of the Acipco-Finley Neighborhood Association, and City Councilman John Hilliard led a meeting Saturday of about 30 people, including officers of some other neighborhood associations, to discuss how to proceed after the court decision and how to meet concerns over respiratory illnesses and other health effects possibly related to industrial pollution throughout the largely African-American and low-income area.
Several people at the meeting called attention to the negative health effects of living in the North Birmingham community.
Gwen Webb, president of Inglenook Neighborhood Association, said, “I don’t care what side of town you live on, what organization you belong to, what neighborhood you’re in, we all are affected (by polluted air). I can tell you when I start smelling it, I cannot breathe, and pollution is injustice.” Read more.
EPA Studies Find Air Pollution Is Particularly Dangerous to Vulnerable Populations Such as People of Color and Children
Several recent studies funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirm that air pollution disproportionately affects the health of African Americans and others of color. Three of the studies were highlighted in the December 2018 issue of EM, The Magazine for Environmental Managers. Read more.
Anyone who observes or feels the effects of air pollution can report it to the Jefferson County Department of Health and to the nonprofit group, Gasp. Read more.