Forever Wild goes down to the wire
After the legislature took a two-week recess for redistricting hearings, the remaining legislative days are proving to be a busy time to get the last bit of legislation through this year.
The final budgets are still being sorted out between Governor Bentley and the legislature, but once complete, the legislature will be addressing the remaining legislation. And chief among them is the renewal of Forever Wild.
Last week, for the second time this session, the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee voted to support a Forever Wild bill – this time SB369, which will place reauthorization of Forever Wild on the November 2012 ballot. Because the bill is a constitutional amendment, it will need 63 votes in the House (instead of the 53 needed for a simple majority). The last time another Forever Wild bill went before the House earlier in the session, it received 72 votes.
But Forever Wild isn’t the only environmental bill of interest awaiting a vote. A bill that would eliminate ADEM’s current requirement to charge polluters a minimum of $100 per day per violation is awaiting final passage by the Senate. ADEM rarely has adhered to the $100 minimum, but in a time when the agency is awaiting possible EPA takeover because of lax enforcement, the rollback is surprising.
On other issues, the complete streets bill, one that would require ALDOT to consider all users when designing roadways, has received a lot of attention as of late with Alabama being the fifth most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians. Also, the life-cycle budgeting bill, which would allow governments to consider greener and cheaper options over the life cycle of a product, is awaiting final passage by the Senate. However, most other environmental bills have little to no chance of passage at this late date.
You can follow legislation related to the environment each week on Conservation Alabama’s Hot List at conservationalabama.org.