Water, water everywhere

For more than 20 years, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida have been engaged in a bitter battle over the declining abundance of water the three states share.

Now, as the legal fight is on the Supreme Court of the United States’ doorstep, Rep. Chad Fincher, R-Semmes proposed a bill last week that would finally develop a comprehensive water management plan and drought management strategies for the state. Such a plan has been the key missing element in the state of Alabama’s argument against Atlanta’s plan to keep additional water for the sprawling metropolis from ever reaching the state line. Having a plan in place will help Alabama empirically argue its case for the amount of water the state needs for drinking water, industrial purposes, and habitat protection.

This week, the Water Policy and Management Joint Legislative Committee will meet Wednesday to discuss the legislation.

Also last week, several environmental bills that have been on the radar moved, including:

– A bill to extend the landfill moratorium passed the House 89-3.
– A bill to divert money for the Scrap Tire Fund for two years passed the House 66-34.
– A bill that would provide tax incentives for farmers to install irrigation devices passed the House 98-1.
– A bill that would create the Energy and Fuel Research Development and Grants Program passed the House 89-0.
– The environmental conspiracy bill passed the Senate committee last week, and its House companion is in committee this week.

Finally, Sen. Shadrack McGill, R-Scottsboro introduced a constitutional amendment that would divert Forever Wild funding to the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and to the Education Trust Fund to fund vocational education in high schools should citizens vote down Forever Wild renewal or should the Forever Wild renewal pass but get less “yes” votes than McGill’s proposed constitutional amendment. McGill was one of a handful of senators who filibustered legislation last year that would have renewed Forever Wild by legislative action instead of the statewide vote that will take place November 6.

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

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