Alfa strikes back

Despite 85 percent support and not a bad mark on the stellar track record of the Forever Wild program, Alfa strikes back, attempting to kill Forever Wild.

First, after a House committee approved the bill to reauthorize Forever Wild for another 20 years, Alfa dropped two resolutions requesting a temporary committee to study the “operation and effectiveness” of the state land protection program. Now, Alfa is mounting a vicious campaign on talk radio and at the Statehouse to put an end to the funding of the popular program.

At 8:30 a.m. March 31, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a public hearing on SB140, the Senate version of the bill to extend Forever Wild until 2032. Heavy attendance from both the pro and anti-Forever Wild camps is expected.

In new legislation, the Alabama AARP has worked with several House members to introduce a bill to require the Alabama Department of Transportation to consider all users – from pedestrians, to cyclists, to mass transit riders, and motorists – when designing new roads and retrofitting existing highways. The consideration of all users is called “complete streets” and is growing in popularity across the country.

Furthermore, both the House and Senate versions of a bill that would give ADEM authority to regulate coal ash as solid waste are awaiting a vote by their respective chambers. Currently, coal ash is exempt from any ADEM regulatory control, making Alabama the only state that doesn’t have disposal rules on coal ash.

Finally, several Birmingham-area legislators introduced a resolution last week urging Congress to stop EPA from administering any rules related to greenhouse gases. This resolution was not originated in Alabama but is being pushed nationally by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative think-tank that touts limited government, free markets, and federalism.

You can follow legislation related to the environment each week on Conservation Alabama’s Hot List at conservationalabama.org.

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