New environmental bills introduced

More progress has been made on reauthorizing Forever Wild, but new environmental bills have been introduced over the past week.

A lengthy public hearing resulted in a tight vote for the Senate edition of the Forever Wild reauthorization bill. Nearly 25 speakers, both pro and con, spoke March 31 at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee meeting in Montgomery. Impassioned Alfa representatives and Tea Party activists spoke out against reauthorization, while hunters, bird-watchers, and names such as Bradley Byrne spoke in strong support.

The committee voted 5-3 in favor of SB140, and the full Senate could vote as early as this week on the bill. The House is also poised to vote any time on their version (HB126) of the Forever Wild reauthorization bill.

Several new environmental bills were introduced this week. One bill would make law Governor Robert Bentley Executive Order No. 8. The bill (HB406) declares a 24-month moratorium on new landfills to give ADEM, the state health department, and the Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee a chance to review state landfill permitting and develop a comprehensive statewide solid waste plan.

Rep. Joe Hubbard of Montgomery introduced HB394, which would modify the qualifications of members of the Environmental Management Commission, the board that oversees ADEM. The current water-well driller position would be expanded to include a hydrogeologist or geologist. Additionally, new members terms will be limited to two six-year terms.

A resolution introduced by Birmingham-area legislators urging Congress to stop EPA from administering any rules related to greenhouse gases passed the House last week on a voice vote.

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

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