Dump ban may be extended to 2014

Last year the legislature upheld a work stoppage order issued by Governor Robert Bentley on new landfills in Alabama. This session, they may be extending that landfill moratorium another year.

Originally designated to end May 31, 2013, the landfill moratorium prohibits the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and other agencies to issue new landfill permits. The legislation also directs ADEM along with the Alabama Department of Public Health to study existing landfill regulations and to update the state’s solid waste management plan. Those efforts are expected to need more time than the existing moratorium will allow, so 20 legislators are seeking to extend the new landfill ban until 2014.

Groups like the Citizens for a Clean Southwest Alabama and the Lowndes Citizens United for Action have been fighting proposed dumps for years. Other groups like those in Perry County are dealing with the ramifications of landfills in their mostly minority and impoverished community.

In other matters, last week Rep. Greg Wren, R-Montgomery introduced the House companion bill to Sen. Cam Ward’s, R-Alabaster bill to create the “energy and fuel research and development grants program” in the Department of Agriculture. While Ward’s bill has been awaiting a Senate vote for a few weeks, Wren’s bill will be before the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee this week.

The bill to update the qualifications for members of the Alabama Environmental Management Commission is before the House Commerce and Small Business Committee this week. This bill would expand qualifications for certain posts, clarify qualifications in others, and limit appointees to two six-year terms instead of the current three six-year terms.

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

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