COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES
Report to the Governor
January 22, 2001
W. Peter Conroy, Chairman
Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives
c/o Environmental Policy and Information Center
Jacksonville State University
216 Ayers Hall
700 Pelham Road North
Jacksonville, AL 36265
The Honorable Don Siegelman
Governor, State of Alabama
Montgomery, AL 36130
Dear Governor Siegelman:
As chairman of your Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives (the “Commission”), I am delighted to report that we have completed our work on the priority issues you charged us with on August 25, 2000, and will address the other issues set forth in your executive order in 2001. It has been an honor to chair this Commission that is so well represented by environmental experts from around our great state. Governor, your leadership in the selection of these individuals was both courageous and forward thinking.
The Commission met extensively and debated numerous important issues both as a full body and as specific committees. Commission members traveled across the state to attend a series of twelve town meetings where we listened to thousands of citizens and numerous environmental experts. After hearing input from the citizens and with your priorities in mind, the Commission then began its deliberations and debate, which resulted in the 40 specific consensus recommendations we now present for your consideration. Additionally, numerous other recommendations and issues have been placed on the table for future debate and research by the Commission.
The attached report has been reviewed by many individuals who have provided comments for our review.While some of these comments have been incorporated into the text of this report, all of them are available for you and your staff.I encourage you to read them.This report provides you with both the recommendations we present for immediate consideration and the issues we see as future items for the Commission to address.
hope that it provides you with information and recommendations that will
be useful in your quest to Keep Alabama Beautiful.
Pete Conroy – Jacksonville State University
Nick Bailey – Director, Department of Economic and Community Affairs
Sabra Barnett - Governor’s Policy Director
Charles Bishop – Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries
Tim Boyce - State Forester
Rep. Barbara Boyd – House of Representatives
Willard Bowers - Forever Wild Board and Alabama Power Company
Mark Berson – Director, Bureau of Tourism and Travel
Pat Byington – Forever Wild Board
Bob Chandler - Alabama Geological Survey
Jim Hayes – Director, Alabama Development Office
Rep. Thomas Jackson – Chairman, House Agriculture Committee
Craig Kneisel – Attorney General’s Office
Dr. Jeff McCollum – Forever Wild Board
Don Oltz – Geological Survey of Alabama
Mack Roberts –Director, Department of Transportation
Lori Allen Siegelman - First Lady
Rep. Sue Schmitz – House of Representatives
Riley Boykin Smith – Commissioner, Conservation and Natural Resources
Jim Warr – Director, Department of Environmental Management
Dr. Donald Williamson - State Health Officer
Lisa Adams - Alabama Coastal Foundation
Wendy Allen - former Baldwin County Commissioner
Mable Anderson - Village Creek Environmental Justice Society
Conner Bailey - Auburn University
Whitlynn Battle - Mothers Environmental Coalition of Alabama
Billy Bond - Alabama River Woodlands (retired)
Lucy Buffet - Mobile Bay Estuary Program
Kirsten Bryant - Alabama Environmental Council
Casi Callaway - Mobile Baywatch
Vivian Vines Campbell – Attorney
Greg Cauthen – Boeing
George Crozier - Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Jerry Davis - Alabama Waterfowl Association
Bill Deutsch - Alabama Water Watch
Kathy Freeland – The Nature Conservancy
Doug Ghee - former State Senator
Dorman Grace – Alabama Farmers Federation
Mike Higginbotham - Jefferson County
Reverend Mark Johnston - Camp McDowell
Rick Kuykendall – Attorney
Roy McCauley - International Paper
Buddy Morgan - Montgomery Water Works
David Newton - Sierra Club
Wade Perry - Alabama Democratic Party
Doug Phillips - Discovering Alabama
Rebecca Pritchett - Alabama Wildlife Federation
David Roberson – Business Council of Alabama
Jerry Roberts - SweetValley/Cobbtown Environmental Justice Society
Ann Smith - Ashurst Bar/Smith Community Organization
Don Spurlin – Spurlin Construction
Beth Stewart - Cahaba River Society
John Stewart - United Mine Workers
Bob Tate - Audubon Society
Scott Tew - Ciba Chemicals
Mary Thompson - Attorney
Joe Turnham - ALALEAVs
Cameron Vowell – Environmental Management Commission (former member)
Margaret Wade - AIBD
Larry Watts - Regional Planning Commission
Bruce Windham - Drummond Company
Lanny Young - Waste Management
Glen Zorn - Mayor, City of Florala
The Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives (the “Commission”) may be the most broad sweeping and profound attempt in the history of Alabama intended to protect special natural areas and correct environmentally related problems. Governor Don Siegelman is deeply and personally committed to environmental protection. Throughout his distinguished career as Alabama's Secretary of State, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor and now as Governor, no one has been more effective in developing a record of conservation and environmental stewardship.
The establishment and operation of the Commission represents a culmination of Governor Siegelman's experience and relationships with other Alabamians who care about issues concerning land, air, water and living resources. Because of these relationships, he was willing and able to assemble one of the most diverse and well-balanced commissions in the history of Alabama. Representing a spectrum of regional alliances, philosophical ideologies, and professional backgrounds, Governor Siegelman appointed over sixty individuals to serve on this Commission. While the mere size of the Commission has presented some inevitable challenges, the large number of participants has created a grand scale, consensus approach that has taken on an extraordinarily significant meaning. Alabama has known success in the arena of environmental protection but it is more familiar with failure due to an inability to find common ground. The consensus process has identified commonality and allowed for a realistic way of moving Alabama forward.
While both the Commission's composition and process are historic in their nature, so has been the Commission's openness. It has been said that no other Commission has been so proactive in reaching out to the public. The "town meetings" that were conducted to identify the issues of importance to Alabamians attracted over a thousand interested citizens. Hundreds testified and were heard by the Commission as well as journalists who reported their concerns through television, newspapers, radio broadcasts and the Internet.
The work of this Commission appears to have inspired some and threatened others. Its process and contents have evoked both criticism and praise. Regardless of the preliminary assessments and predictions as to the ultimate outcome from this first year of work, it is expected that the contents of this report will be taken in the most positive and proactive light.
In 1989, just over a decade ago, two excellent reports were completed with varying success. One in Alabama, entitled An Environmental Protection Plan for the State of Alabama, evoked inadequate follow up, and as an unfortunate result, it has sat relatively unused by policy makers. Another report from 1989, this by the Commission for the Future of Florida's Environment, was embraced by policy makers. As a result, our neighboring state is better known for its commitment to conservation and environmental protection. In fact, this report is described as having been a pivotal document, responsible for a widely acclaimed water management system and actions like Preservation 2000, a state land acquisition program with an annual budget of three hundred million dollars.
Alabama and Florida are very different places, with very different environmental
challenges, a focused response to this commission’s report could result
in a similar pattern of decision-making and a healthier, more prosperous
environment for us all.
On April 26, 2000, Governor Don Siegelman signed Executive Order 26 creating the Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives (the “Commission”). The Governor’s order charged the Commission “with researching and developing quality options and alternatives that encourage the long-term preservation of Alabama’s natural environment”. The Commission is composed of 63 individuals with diverse backgrounds who live in all parts of the state.
The Commission began its work with an address from Governor Siegelman on August 25, 2000. Governor Siegelman told the Commission they were asked to serve because they “bring special expertise and unique perspectives in business, the environment and conservation. But most importantly–all of you have Alabama’s best interests at heart”. Governor Siegelman asked the Commission to focus on achieving consensus recommendations in three priority areas in its first phase of work prior to the 2001 regular legislative session. The Governor’s initial priorities were cleaner air, cleaner water, and roadside beautification.
After the initial meeting, the Commission launched a series of town meetings in twelve locations across the state. Thousands of Alabamians attended these meetings to raise issues for the Commission to consider, express their views and concerns about the environment, and to report on efforts throughout Alabama to protect and enhance the environment. The Commission also invited the public to submit comments or concerns in writing.
After hearing from citizens across the state, the Commission began its deliberations. Four committees were established to provide an efficient and effective means of addressing all of the issues raised by the public and Commission members themselves. These committees and their members are:
Air and Water – Lisa Adams, Willard Bowers, Lucy Buffett, Pat Byington, Casi Callaway, Bob Chandler, George Crozier, Bill Deutsch, Dorman Grace, Mike Higginbotham, Mark Johnston, Craig Kneisel, Wade Perry, Scott Tew, Mary Thompson (Committee Chair), Sue Schmitz, and Rick Kuykendall.
Environmental Management & Review – Mable Anderson, Conner Bailey, Sabra Barnett, Kirsten Bryant, Vivian Vines Campbell, Greg Cauthen, Pete Conroy (Committee Chair), Roy McCauley, Buddy Morgan, David Newton, Rebecca Pritchett, David Roberson, Jerry Roberts, Ann Smith, Beth Stewart, Robert Tate, Joe Turnham, Cameron Vowell, Jim Warr, Bruce Windham, and Lanny Young.
Natural Resources & Land – Wendy Allen, Charles Bishop, Billy Bond, Tim Boyce, Jerry Davis, Kathy Freeland, Doug Ghee (Committee Chair), Thomas Jackson, Don Oltz, Mack Roberts, Riley Smith, Don Spurlin, Larry Watts, and Glen Zorn.
Health & Education – Whitlynn Battle, Mark Berson, Barbara Boyd, Dr. Jeff McCollum, Doug Phillips (Committee Chair), Lori Allen Siegelman, Margaret Wade, and Dr. Don Williamson.
of these committees met numerous times and put in countless hours of work
over the last four months to develop consensus recommendations for consideration
by the full Commission. The work of the committees culminated on December
6, 2000, when the full Commission met for the fourth time and approved
by consensus 40 recommendations for the Governor’s consideration.
As requested by the Governor, the Commission has achieved consensus on the following 40 recommendations. Consensus was defined as approval by at least 90% of Commission members who voted on each item (i.e., the number of votes in favor of each item were divided by the total number of votes either for or against each item.) The recommendations are divided into the three priority areas established by the Governor. An additional category includes recommendations outside of the Governor’s priority areas, but where the Commission has already achieved consensus.
wording of the consensus recommendations was extensively debated and each
was written in a precise manner. In some cases, additional information
helps clarify and define the issue. Also, where relevant, comments
made by citizens at the Commission’s town meetings or submitted to the
Commission in writing have been included. Narratives that were not
part of the Commission’s specific recommendations are shown in italic print.
1. As plans have been approved and are already in the process for many stationary sources to make major reductions in ozone precursor emissions, we recommend the introduction of legislation that directly deals with mobile sources to reduce ozone. We recommend the local authority be given the power to request ADEM to enforce steps to reduce ozone including Inspection & Maintenance, emissions standards for fuels, vapor recovery at gas stations and/or mandate the use of alternative fuels. We further recommend that appropriate state agencies provide incentives for alternate transportation to reduce ozone. In cases of an area being officially designated non-attainment, ADEM can impose any or all of the previously listed actions.
This recommendation is similar to one made last year by the Alabama Commerce Commission, on vehicle inspection and maintenance programs. Legislation on this issue has been introduced in the last two legislative sessions and low sulfur gasoline has been used in Alabama’s ozone non-attainment counties for the past two years. The Commission requests that the Governor support vehicle inspections and maintenance legislation in the 2001 legislative session and continue support of low sulfur fuel.
At the Birmingham Town Meeting on September 27, 2000, Ron Pearsal, Executive Director, Alabama Chapter, American Lung Association, discussed air quality problems in the Birmingham area. He stated that there was “no one problem, no one solution” and he recommended cleaner burning fuels, vehicle inspection and maintenance programs, and improved mass transit. Another representative of the American Lung Association made similar comments at the Huntsville Town Meeting on October 10, 2000.
2. Urge all public officials to support the Stakeholder process in Air Quality Studies, such as that in Mobile. We further support Stakeholder processes on all air and water quality issues across the state.
The stakeholder process allows consideration of all impacts of any new policy or lack of policy. This process has been utilized extensively by the Environmental Protection Agency to help resolve difficult environmental problems. Completion of the Mobile Air Quality Study may be a valuable tool for public education and it will provide useful experience for conducting similar studies in other parts of the state. The Commission requests that the Governor join with the Commission in urging all state and local officials to use the stakeholder process.
3. Regarding cumulative emissions, we suggest, [to ADEM], researching the number of air permits granted in a spatial area. If the number of permits within that area is large, the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) increments should be reviewed to determine if there is a need to do cumulative emissions permitting for minor source permits in that area.
At the Mobile Town Meeting on October 23, 2000, Jean Downing recommended that ADEM consider the cumulative effect of air emissions when issuing new permits. In a letter submitted by Vivian Vines Campbell, a member of the Commission, she recommended studies to identify multiple and cumulative exposures. The Commission requests that Jim Warr, Director of ADEM, conduct this research and report his findings back to the Commission.
4. All applicable agencies and government bodies develop and propose new incentives for companies (especially the top 20 point source contributors) to further reduce toxic air emissions and water discharges beyond what is currently required by regulations.
5. Establish incentives for environmental protection.
Recommendations 4 and 5 address the same issue but were the result of two different committees. Additionally, the Commission received numerous written and verbal comments offering concepts and ideas in this area. For example, in written comments to the Commission, Ray Vaughn of WildLaw offered the concept of an environmental cost recovery clause modeled after Florida Statute 366.8255. Also, Jason Driscoll of Mobile Bay Watch stated at the Mobile Town Meeting that incentives were needed for emissions reductions. Additionally, many incentive ideas were offered at town meetings to help Alabama farmers implement additional measures for environmental protection.
Commission requests that ADEM, The Department of Agriculture, The Public
Service Commission and the Governor’s Policy Office research policies that
have successfully implemented this concept.
1. Pursue effective control and full compliance with Clean Water Act criteria regarding sanitary/sewage and stormwater discharge/run-off for both rural and municipal areas.
The Commission requests that ADEM report how this process will be implemented and the outcomes.
2. Support new legislation that will prohibit the discharge of litter and sewage from vessels into the waters of the state and require the disposal of the waste in proper facilities on shore.
disposal legislation has been introduced in the last several sessions of
the Alabama legislature. The Commission requests that the Governor’s Policy
Office help identify the appropriate agency to administer this program
and support passage of this legislation.
3. Executive Order should be drawn up requiring State contracts for road and bridge construction and maintenance to require that contractors comply with stormwater and erosion control and/or National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements.
In written comments to the Commission, Jon Hornsby stated that one of the greatest threats facing stream biota in the state today is excessive siltation resulting from uncontrolled erosion and that one of the primary causes of siltation is highway construction. The Commission requests that the Alabama Department of Transportation review its standard contract provisions to determine if additional provisions are needed to insure that all subcontracts fully comply with erosion control and stormwater requirements.
4. We call on appropriate officials to encourage local government to hold their contractors to the same standards as other regulated entities dealing with stormwater and erosion control.
At the Dothan Town Meeting on October 5, 2000, Mike Mullen of Troy State University emphasized the need for sediment control in local road construction. The Commission requests that local governments review its standard contract provisions to determine if additional provisions are needed to insure that all subcontracts fully comply with erosion control and stormwater requirements
5. We support the further development of nutrient standards that are appropriate for the individual waterbody assuring that we do not overcompensate by removing those nutrients critical to maintaining the health of that waterbody.
6. Support legislation requiring low phosphate detergents based on finding effective legislation in other coastal states.
Recommendations 5 and 6 concern nutrient standards. In Executive Order Number 33 and in HJR 228 (2000 Regular Session) both the Governor and the Legislature recommended that ADEM use all available resources to develop appropriate nutrient standards for Alabama lakes and streams. At the Auburn Town Meeting on September 18, 2000, Dick Bronson of the Lake Martin HOBOs recommended development of nutrient standards for lakes and streams. Although there is widespread support for nutrient standards, at the Dothan Town Meeting on October 5, 2000, Ben Bowden cautioned that nutrients are needed for fish to grow and that nutrient standards should be based on sound science. The Commission recognizes the work and support of the Governor and Alabama Legislature on this matter and requests that ADEM continue development of appropriate nutrient standards for lakes and streams.
7. Recommend the Governor take a leadership role to ensure better agency cooperation and coordination on water resources decisions.
At the Auburn Town Meeting on September 18, 2000, Mary Lou Smith recommended that ADECA, ADCNR, and ADEM need to be coordinated to protect natural resources. The Commission recommends that the leaders of these agencies establish a schedule of regular meetings and that each agency identify a liaison responsible for regular communications on matters arising within their respective jurisdictions.
8. Support legislation to create a grant program for water conservation and recycling.
At the Guntersville Town Meeting on October 9, 2000, Hal Lee, a local farmer, recommended that the state provide more education and resources for conservation practices and incentives. The Commission requests that ADEM review the grant funds within its responsibility and target some grants for water conservation demonstrating projects.
We endorse the Clean Water Action Plan process and the watershed approach
it employs. The Commission requests that ADEM enhance efforts to implement
the watershed approach in its permitting program.
1. The State of Alabama aggressively should secure Federal monies to support roadside beautification efforts. Additionally, promote the planting of native wildflowers on roadsides.
At the Birmingham Town Meeting on September 27, 2000, Mary Burks of the Alabama Wildflower Watch recommended roadside planting of native wildflowers. The Commission requests that the Department of Transportation enhance its ongoing efforts to plant wildflowers in roadside areas and that local governments seek to establish similar programs.
2. A task force should be created to address the following areas: stopping illegal dumping by physical and monetary support for the law enforcement community, increase penalties associated with illegal dumping, identify and implement refuse disposal alternatives, coordinate activities among active interested parties, mandate garbage collection requirements, and strengthening notification procedures of landfill sites.
At the Mobile Town Meeting on October 23, 2000, Bob Haskins, President of Keep Alabama Beautiful, stated that his organization and People Against a Littered State (Alabama PALS) are working with the Governor to prevent roadside litter and illegal dumping. He suggested that litter prevention education is the key. At the Guntersville Town Meeting on October 9, 2000, a representative of the Alabama Waterfowl Association said that Alabama PALS works to prevent roadside litter.
the Birmingham Town Meeting on September 27, 2000, Larry Crenshaw of the
Alabama Environmental Council recommended that Alabama set a goal to recycle
25% of its solid waste. The Commission requests that the Governor appoint
a taskforce of stakeholders to study this issue. The Commission also requests
that the Governor’s Policy Office review and consider supporting legislation
introduced in the 2000 Legislative session to reduce illegal dumping.
1. Support WRATT – the Waste Reduction and Technology Transfer Program – with secured funding through the general fund.
At the Florence Town Meeting on September 25, 2000, Earl Evans explained that the WRATT or Waste Reduction and Technology Transfer program uses retired engineers who volunteer their time and expertise to help companies find savings from waste reduction practices. The Commission recommends to the Governor that he actively support the continued funding of the WRATT program.
2. Recommend that respiratory distress issues be researched [by this committee]. Work with the Health Department to find out what it would take to develop a database of respiratory problems.
At the Birmingham Town Meeting on September 27, 2000, Ann Turner Henson discussed ongoing studies conducted by UAB, which indicate some areas of Birmingham have high rates of asthma. The Commission recommends to the Governor that he direct the ADPH to work with established public health programs in developing a database of respiratory problems.
3. Strengthen current programs on the local and state level regulating septic systems & encourage funding support.
At the Tuscaloosa Town meeting on September 19, 2000, Don Pugh of the County Health department and Maxine Bryant discussed problems in the Tuscaloosa area from the use of septic systems. The Commission recommends to the Governor that he direct the Department of Public Health, ADEM and any established, Alabama-based, septic tank interests to coordinate with the USEPA and identify ways to strengthen current regulations relating to septic systems.
4. We support creating subsidies for landowners that would increase buffer zones in riparian and wetlands habitats.
The Commission recommends to the Governor that he direct the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Alabama Forestry Commission, the Department of Agriculture and the Finance Director to identify programs and potential subsidies as described above.
5. We support adding the "22 Model Principles for Better Site Design" to the Non-Point Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) program.
6. We support an Executive Order from the Governor that urges the state adopt the "22 Model Principles For Better Site Design" on all new state construction.
Recommendations 5 and 6 concern the "22 Model Principles for Better Site Design." These principles were developed by the Site Planning Roundtable, a national diverse stakeholder group of planning, environmental, home builder, fire, safety, public works, and local government representatives. The principles are the result of a consensus effort to create environmentally sensitive, economically viable and locally appropriate development. The 22 principles can be obtained from the Center for Watershed Protection (www.cwp.org). The Commission recommends to the Governor that he direct ADEM to adopt the 22 Model Principles for Better Site Design as an element of the NEMO program.
7. Investigate and work toward accessing Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund and using those resources to do clean up.
The Commission recommends to the Governor that he coordinate with the Alabama Congressional delegation and appropriate Federal agencies to increase Alabama’s share of funding for abandoned mine reclamation.
8. On the local level, strengthen and clarify public notification prior to reviewing a landfill permit. Lengthen the time between notice being given and accepting an application for the landfill.
At the Anniston Town Meeting on October 12, 2000, Cassandra Roberts of the Sweet Valley/Cobbtown Environmental Justice Task Force recommended that Alabama needed to better notice procedure for the landfill citing and permitting process. Concerns about the landfill citing process were the main issues raised at the Selma Town Meeting on September 28, 2000. The Commission recommends that he ADEM review its comment notice procedures and propose changes to the process as described above.
9. Support Brownfield redevelopment via legislation and supports a policy that promotes urban revitalization.
Last year, brownfields legislation was introduced in the Alabama Legislature. Also, at the Mobile Town Meeting on October 23, 2000, Senator George Callahan recommended adoption of brownfields legislation. The Commission recommends to the Governor that he evaluate the above legislation and coordinate an effort to establish consensus regarding brownfields legislation.
10. It is recommended that Forever Wild (FW) in cooperation with other entities (business groups, environmental groups, citizens, etc.) establish a strategic vision for state parks and wildlife management. Also, authorize and commission Forever Wild to develop a strategic plan for the categories identified in the FW legislation including proposed mechanisms to achieve the strategic plan. Include mechanism, such as bond issues and the federal joint venture program
At the Florence Town Meeting on September 25, 2000, T.D. Baker, Jr. discussed the problem of some landowners pulling their property out of the wildlife management area program of the Department of Conservation. Also, at the Birmingham Town Meeting on September 27, 2000, Ken Wills of the Southern Appalachian Heritage Association discussed the need for more protection for state parks.
committee finds that, given the accelerating change in Alabama's landscape,
a clear plan is needed for the protection of Alabama's exceptional natural
lands and waters including a strategic vision for the future of state parks,
wildlife management areas, etc. It is clear that the successful implementation
of such a plan will require that Alabama build on its existing Forever
Wild program to provide sufficient financial resources to acquire and manage
additional conservation and recreational lands. A subcommittee of the Alabama
Commission on Environmental Initiatives should be charged with the task
of working with the Forever Wild program and other stakeholders to develop
a land conservation plan to propose specific measures to finance the implementation
of that plan.
11. Promote Alabama Trails by developing a coordinated trails plan that includes bicycle paths, pedestrian trails, greenway systems, water trails, and other designated trails.
The Committee recommends to the Governor that he direct a subset of the Alabama Millennium Trails Committee to coordinate with Mr. Jon Strickland, ADECA, and work to develop the above plan.
12. Eliminate duplication of regulations statewide.
The Commission recommends to the Governor that he request from his cabinet a list of duplicative regulations in environmental programs. The Governor should then act on this list by directing his cabinet to eliminate such duplication.
13. Develop plans to address statewide uniform prescribed burning and invasive species. Encourage the development of incentives and support ongoing public/private continuous efforts to promote the use of public/private efforts prescribed burning and preservation of landowners right to use this practice as an effective forestry/wildlife management tool.
The Commission recommends to the Governor that he direct the AFC and ADCNR to develop incentives and support ongoing efforts to promote the use of prescribed burning to benefit both forestry practices and wildlife populations.
14. Implement incentives and funding sources to protect and promote or encourage preservation of historical sites and environmentally sensitive areas. Additionally revitalize the non-game income tax check off and research additional funding.
The Commission requests that the Governor direct the Alabama Historical Commission to establish a plan for the protection of historical sites to include possible funding sources. The Commission also requests that the Governor direct the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to establish a plan that identifies and protects environmentally sensitive areas. Additionally, this plan is to outline the revitalization of the state’s program.
15. Development and implementation of a comprehensive program of risk assessment.
The Commission requests that the Governor direct Dr. Donald Williamson, Alabama Department of Public Health to achieve the above.
16. Establishment of an improved linkage/mechanism for greater communication and cooperation between ADEM and the Department of Public Health.
The Commission requests that the Governor convene a meeting between the Directors of both ADEM and ADPH to discuss and report their findings as to any ways of achieving the above.
17. Development of a comprehensive state plan for environmental education that involves pertinent agencies and groups and addresses significant environmental education needs/areas.
The Commission requests that the Governor, through his role on the State School Board, to support national standards for environmental education (established by the North American Association for Environmental Education) and adopt the state wide plan as established by the Alabama Collaborative for Environmental Education.
18. Development of a comprehensive statewide environmental education program for schools, to include a multidiscipline (content-integrated program) curriculum as appropriate for K-12, pre-service and in-service teacher training program, and a formally coordinated system for statewide delivery of curriculum, materials, training, etc.
Same as #17
19. Development of comprehensive environmental education outreach for the general public, to include a program for promoting general appreciation and awareness of Alabama’s environment, a clearinghouse “data base” of existing programs and materials, and development of specific materials and programs as may be useful for localized issues and needs.
Same as #17
20. Establishment of a coordinated system for providing environmental education to special target groups such as farmers, small businesses, community and political leaders, the media, etc.
Same as #17
21. Provision of expanded and enhanced programs for environmental education in technical and environmental specialty fields at colleges and trade schools.
At the town meetings, comments on environmental education (Recommendations 17 through 21) were one of the most common themes. A good example is the statement by Dr. Lee Youngblood, President, Alabama Wildlife Federation, at the Selma Town meeting on September28, 2000. Dr. Youngblood reported that environmental education was the top priority for the Alabama Wildlife Federation and that his group had been working extensively with other organizations and agencies like Legacy Inc., the Department of Conservation, and the Department of Education to develop mechanisms for teaching environmental education in the public schools. The Commission request that the Governor, environmental agencies, and interested environmental organizations make environmental education a priority and build upon existing programs to insure that environmental education and programs are implemented in the public schools as soon as possible.
22. Increase staffing and funding levels at the Office of Water Resources to enable the OWR to perform statutorily mandated duties.
The Governor should direct Mr. Nick Bailey, ADECA Acting Director, to review such an increase with assistance from the Governor's Finance Office.
23. The proper protection of our environment and management of our natural resources requires adequate funding. Alabamians have long been proud of the state’s ecological and geographical diversity, as well as its abundance of natural resources. Yet when compared to other states, our traditional funding of environmental and natural resources programs ranks near the bottom.
The Commission believes that many of the deficiencies in the implementation of the state’s current environmental and natural resources laws are attributable, at least in part, to insufficient funding of the state agencies charged with their enforcement. In order to accomplish the meaningful reforms recommended by the Commission and by the Governor in Executive Order No. 26, the State of Alabama must commit to provide increased funding for the programs currently in place and additional funding to implement the changes outlined in this report. Environmental and natural resource agencies in the state (particularly ADEM) should be funded, at a minimum, at the regional average on a per capita basis.
24. In addition to the General Fund, the Commission supports the concept of compliance assurance fees that would recover the costs to review, issue, and ensure compliance of environmental permits. Compliance assurance fees should fund a substantial increase in inspections and monitoring over what ADEM currently provides. Compliance assurance fees should be evenly and fairly applied to all permittees. This new funding source should not replace general funds. It is also imperative to increase general fund expenditures for environmental programs.
The Legislature should adopt the legislation to authorize compliance assurance fees in the upcoming session. The details of implementation of compliance assurance fees would be developed through the process of adoption of new ADEM regulations, which will include public review.
was another common theme raised in the town meetings. For example,
at the Birmingham Town Meeting on September 27, 2000, Don Haney of the
Lay Lake HOBOs stated that we must give environmental agencies funding
to do the job we ask them to do and to obtain all available federal matching
funds. The Commissions requests that the Governor direct the State Finance
Department to research funding levels of environmental agencies and identify
ways to impose funding from state and federal agencies.
There were numerous issues discussed in the committees that failed to gain consensus in either the committees themselves or with the full Commission. While these issues are very important, further research and debate will be required before the Commission will be in a position to make additional recommendations. The Commission will continue work on these issues in 2001. Except for one item as noted below, each of the following issues gained consensus at the committee level but did not gain consensus of the full Commission. The Commission offers these concepts as a starting point for its 2001 agenda.
Committee Level Consensus Issues
SECTION I – Environmental Management and Review
1. The EMR Committee recommend developing a water withdrawal permitting system for groundwater and surface water. The ACEI would create a committee of all interested parties/stakeholders as soon as possible to determine more specifically how this permitting system would function.(Agree 73% by full commission)
2. Environmental justice for minority populations and low-income populations is a priority issue of concern to the Commission. As a first step, EMR Committee recommend that Governor Siegelman work with this Commission as soon as possible to establish an Environmental Justice Executive Order, which would implement, in Alabama, environmental justice policies and directives similar to those set forth by President Clinton in the Executive Order of February 11, 1994. After January 1, 2001 the Commission intends to return to this issue, recommend more specific actions and policies to the Governor, and take up other environmental issues. (Agree 76% by full commission)
3. The proper protection of our environment and management of our natural resources requires adequate funding. Alabamians have long been proud of the state’s ecological and geographical diversity, as well as its abundance of natural resources. Yet when compared to other states, our traditional funding of environmental and natural resources programs ranks near the bottom. The Commission believes that many of the deficiencies in the implementation of the state’s current environmental and natural resources laws are attributable, at least in part, to insufficient funding of the state agencies charged with their enforcement. In order to accomplish the meaningful reforms recommended by the Commission and by the Governor in Executive Order No. 26, the State of Alabama must commit to provide increased funding for the programs currently in place and additional funding to implement the changes outlined in this report. Environmental and natural resources agencies in the state (particularly ADEM) should be funded, at a minimum, at the regional average on a per capita basis.(Agree 60% by full commission)
4. EMR Committee suggested the following amendments to §22-22A-6(b), Code of Alabama 1975:(Agree 63% by full commission)
The Environmental Management Commission shall be composed of twelve* members who are citizens of the State of Alabama. Initial members of the commission shall be appointed to places on the Environmental Management Commission by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the House of Representatives pursuant to the procedure set out in subsection (d) of this section with the advice and consent of the Senate. Initial appointments shall be made on or before October 1, 1982. All subsequent appointments to places on the Environmental Management Commission after the initial appointments shall be made by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. No member of the Environmental Management Commission may serve more than a total of two (2) full six (6) year terms. When a vacancy occurs during a period when the Legislature is not in session to advise and consent, such appointee shall have the full power of the office until and unless the Senate, upon the reconvening of the Legislature, shall by affirmative vote refuse to consent in such appointment. Qualifications of the twelve* members shall be as follows:
1) One member shall be a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Alabama and shall have a minimum of 10 years combined experience and post graduate education in the field of public health;
2) One member shall be licensed as a professional engineer by the State of Alabama and shall have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a minimum of 10 years combined experience and post graduate education in environmental engineering;
3) One member shall be an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Alabama and have at least a minimum of 10 years combined experience and post graduate education, and shall be familiar with environmental matters;
4) One member shall have at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or chemical engineering and a minimum of 10 years combined related experience and post graduate education, and shall be familiar with environmental matters;
5) One member shall have at least a bachelor’s degree in geology from a university, shall be licensed in the state of Alabama, and have a minimum of 10 years combined related experience and post graduate education, including experience in hydrogeology, and shall be familiar with environmental matters;
6) One member shall have at least a bachelor’s degree in aquatic sciences (such as aquatic ecology, aquatic biology, fisheries biology, marine biology or marine science), and a minimum of 10 years combined related experience and post graduate education, and shall be familiar with ecological and environmental matters;
7) One member shall have a bachelor’s degree in terrestrial sciences (such as ecology, zoology, botany, forestry, wildlife science, or wildlife biology), and a minimum of 10 years combined experience and post graduate education, and shall be familiar with ecological and environmental matters.
8 – 12) Five members with no specific qualifications shall be selected, one from each of the five (5) surface water regions of the state of Alabama as noted in the Alabama code, Section 9-10B-3. The Governor and Legislature will determine who appoints these five (5) members. *
It is noted that persons currently serving on the Commission who would not meet the revised qualifications, would complete their specified terms.
5. In order to bring better balance to the allocation and management of water resources, the EMR committee recommended that the Alabama Water Resources Commission or its successor be divided into surface water regions as follows:
a. Central Alabama Surface Water Region. That area of the state formed by the counties of Etowah, Cherokee, St. Clair, Calhoun, Cleburne, Shelby, Talladega, Clay, Randolph, Bibb, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Chilton, Perry, Autauga, Elmore, Macon, Montgomery, Dallas, Lowndes, Wilcox, and Monroe.
b. Coastal Alabama Surface Water Region. That area of the state formed by the counties of Mobile and Baldwin, and all bays, tidal estuaries, and portions of the Gulf of Mexico over which this state has jurisdiction.
c. North Alabama Surface Water Region. That area of the state formed by the counties of Lauderdale, Limestone, Madison, Jackson, Colbert, Franklin, Lawrence, Morgan, Marshall, and DeKalb.
d. Southeast Alabama Surface Water Region. That area of the state formed by the counties of Russell, Bullock, Pike, Barbour, Lee, Chambers, Butler, Crenshaw, Coffee, Dale, Henry, Conecuh, Covington, Geneva, Houston, and Escambia.
e. West Alabama Surface Water Region. That area of the state formed by the counties of Marion, Winston, Cullman, Blount, Lamar, Fayette, Walker, Jefferson, Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Greene, Hale, Sumter, Marengo, Choctaw, Clarke, and Washington.
6. The EMR Committee proposed an increase in per diem for the Environmental Management Commission (which governs the Alabama Department of Environmental Management). This would require an amendment to Section 22 – 22A – 6(I).(Agree 63% by full commission)
1) Each member shall receive $1000.00 per day for each day of attendance at an official meeting. Members of the Environmental Management Commission shall be reimbursed for expenses when attending meetings, which are approved and certified by the director. Reimbursement shall be in accordance with Sections 36-7-1 through 36-7-42.
2) All proper expenses of the Environmental Management Commission shall be paid from the appropriations to or fund of the department in the same manner as expenses of the department are paid.
The A&W Committee recommended that state funding through Public Health/Legacy Inc., or some other entity, be set aside to create a better public understanding of risk associated with the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) compounds. (Agree 83% by full commission)
The A&W Committee recommended a state incentives program be created to fund infrastructure, purchasing and operation of Alternative Fuel Vehicles. (Agree 85% by full commission)
The A&W Committee recommended the development of a water withdrawal permitting system for groundwater and surface water. A [Governor’s] stakeholder group of all interested parties should be convened as soon as possible to determine more specifically how this permitting system would function. (Agree 73% by full commission)
The A&W Committee recommended that the State develop a clear plan for wetlands protection. (Agree 82% by full commission)
The A&W Committee recommended an investigation of options to fund and standardize a statewide stormwater management plan to simplify the system for builders and homeowners.The plan should include permeable paving and tax incentives for alternative paving materials and methods that would incorporate the 22 Model Principles For Better Site Design. (Agree 88% by full commission)
The A&W Committee recommended funding for specific studies on degraded streams regarding non-point source pollution to acquire data to determine funding priorities for addressing this issue. (Agree 82% by full commission)
The A&W Committee recommended a call for the development of technical and financial incentives, low interest rate loans and subsidies to implement agricultural non-point source protection.The use of these programs should be based on the following system: Scarce funds for environmental protection in Alabama are primarily being allocated to “problem remediation”, e.g. the 303(d) list and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) process of ADEM/EPA.These 303(d) listed stream segments make up less than 2,000 miles of about 77,000 miles of streams in the state.The ACEI Air & Water Quality Committee recommends that ADEM and other state/federal regulatory agencies allocate a certain percentage of funds to environmental protection – “maintaining the good” as well as “chasing the problems”.This would help prevent an unfortunate process of the “good streams” degrading at a faster rate than “problem streams” are cleaned up, with a net loss of statewide water quality.This is a proactive approach to environmental protection and management. (Agree 84% by full commission)
The H&E Committee recommended the development and implementation of an improved process of landfill citing and operation/oversight, to include responsiveness to a host of citizen concerns related to environmental justice, problems from landfill burning, odors and leaching, and inadequate procedures for attaining broad based, informed citizen participation early in citing deliberations. (Agree 82% by full commission)
The H&E Committee recommended the preparation and publication of an annual environmental quality/health report card for the State. (Agree 80% by full commission)
The H&E Committee recommended regular public notification of significant environmental information as the types and qualities of such as toxic/hazardous materials transported through Alabama and toxics/pollutant releases to air and water from discharge sources. (Agree 72% by full commission)
The H&E Committee recommended the establishment of a formal body
with legal mandate for coordinating appropriate agencies and organizations
which supporting and implementing the statewide Environmental Education
Plan. (Agree 71% by full commission)
WHEREAS, one of Alabama's most important assets is its natural environment, characterized by clean air and clear waters; and
WHEREAS, Alabama is the home to the Tensaw Delta, one of the best preserved and most pristine deltas in the United States and perhaps the world; and
WHEREAS, it is paramount that Alabama's forests, lakes, rivers, and streams remain unspoiled and untouched; and
a lack of sufficient enforcement powers to stop damaging runoff is
endangering many lakes and rivers; and
economic growth in Jefferson and Shelby counties is hindered by
ozone non-attainment status, resulting in an estimated loss of $4.6 billion in capital investment in the 1990's; and
WHEREAS, six more Alabama counties are predicted to join Jefferson and Shelby counties in 2001, with five more in 2002 as eight-hour non-attainment areas; and
WHEREAS, the prevention of the destruction and pollution of Alabama's natural resources is a matter of state, federal and local policy and one of great public concern; and
a coordinated, comprehensive, planned public and private effort is
needed to achieve the preservation of Alabama's natural resources.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Don Siegelman, Governor of the State of Alabama, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of Alabama, and for other good and valid reasons, which relate thereto, do hereby establish the Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives which shall be comprised of the following members:
1. The Governor, or his designee who shall serve as Chair;
2. The Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources or his designee;
3. The Director of the Department of Environmental Management or his designee;
4. The State Forester or his designee;
5. The Director of the Alabama Development Office or his designee;
6. The Director of Department of the Economic and Community Affairs or his designee;
7. The Director of the Alabama Department of Transportation or his designee;
8. The State Health Officer or his designee;
9. The First Lady of the State of Alabama or her designee;
10. One board member from the Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust to be appointed by the Governor; and
11. At least one community and/or business leader from each Congressional district to be appointed by the Governor.
BE IT FURTHER ORDERED that the Governor may appoint additional members at a later date.
BE IT FURTHER ORDERED that this commission is charged with researching and developing quality options to encourage the long term preservation of Alabama's natural environment. Areas to be addressed shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
BE IT FURTHER ORDERED that this commission shall meet at least quarterly or at the call of the Chair and shall report its recommendations for the long term preservation of Alabama's environment to the Governor on or before January 15, 2001.
IT FURTHER ORDERED that upon reporting its recommendations to the
Governor, the commission shall continue to meet at the call of the Chair in order to assist in the monitoring and implementation of its proposals.
BE IT FURTHER ORDERED that this Executive Order shall become effective immediately upon the Governor's signature and shall remain in effect until amended or modified by the Governor.
DONE AND ORDERED this 26th day of April, 2000.
Secretary of State
The following is a list of individuals and organizations that submitted comments regarding the ACEI Draft Report.
(Italicizedentries represent ACEI Committee Members)
Alabama African American Environmental Justice Action Network, Auburn, AL
Ann C. Smith
Dr. Mable B. Anderson
Alabama Coal Association, Birmingham, AL
William M. Kelce, President
Alabama Coast Sierra Group, Mobile, AL
C. Tom Hodges
Alabama Forestry Association, Montgomery, AL
John McMillan, Executive VP
Alabama Power, Birmingham, AL
Willard L. Bowers, General Manager, Environmental Affairs
Alabama Pulp and Paper Council, Montgomery, AL
Rick Oates, Executive Director
Alabama Wildlife Federation, Montgomery, AL
Tim L. Gothard, Executive Director
AlaChem, Montgomery, AL
Mark Fowler, Executive Director
AlaLEAV, Montgomery, AL
Joe Turnham, Chairman
Audubon Society, Birmingham, AL
Robert G. Tate
Baldwin County Planning & Zoning, Baldwin County, AL
Ed Polasek, AICP
Dick Bronson, Alexander City, AL
Cahaba River Society, Birmingham, AL
Beth Stewart, Executive Director
Camp McDowell, Double Springs, AL
Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority, Troy, AL
Barbara Gibson, Executive Director
Citizenalert, Blountsville, AL
Allen B. Perrin
Joyce L. Perrin
Wayne Cummings, Pisgah, AL
Sharon Czarnecki, Harvest, AL
Steve DeMedicis, Birmingham, AL
Discovering Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Dr. Doug Phillips
Wilma Fletcher, Ider, AL
Ann Harpole, Birmingham, AL
Home Builders Association of Alabama, Montgomery, AL
Sonny Richardson, President
Sean Strickler, Regulatory Affairs Director
Charles R. Horn, Montgomery, AL
John Hornsby, Montgomery, AL
Sue Kidd, Westwood Elementary School, Coker, AL
LEAF (Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation), Tallahassee, AL
David A. Ludder, General Counsel
Brenda Lindell, Anniston, AL
Jenifer E. Marley,
Roy McAuley, Prattville, AL
Mobile Baywatch, Inc., Bay Minette, AL
George D. Peterson
Randall Naccari, Hoover, AL
David S. Newton, Auburn, AL
Martin P. Owen, Birmingham, AL
Harry Phillips, Fairhope, AL
PREP - People for Responsible Environmental Policy, Montgomery, AL
Toby Roth, Chairman
Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Robert R. Reid, Jr., Birmingham, AL
Jerry Roberts, Eastaboga, AL
Scenic Alabama, Jacksonville, AL
Tonsmeire Properties, Fairhope, AL
Skipper Tonsmeire, President
Mark M. Tuggle, Alexander City, AL
Buddy Vickers, Steele, AL
Village Creek Human & Environmental Justice Society, Birmingham, AL
Dr. Mable B. Anderson, Executive Director
Margaret Wade, Alabama Institute for Deaf & Blind, Talladega, AL
ALABAMA COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES TIME LINE
April 26, 2000
Governor Siegelman issues Executive Order #26 creating the Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives, naming as chairman Mr. W. Peter Conroy.
August 25, 2000
After reviewing over 400 applications, the newly formed Commission holds its first meeting in Montgomery. Gov. Siegelman addresses the Commission and charges them with their mission.
September 18, 2000
The first ACEI public hearing in the form of a Town Meeting is held in Auburn at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center.
September 19, 2000
The Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives holds its second formal meeting in Montgomery. At this time the Commission is subdivided into four committees: Air and Water Quality, Land and Natural Resources Committee, Environmental Review, and Health and Education Committee. Each committee meets and lists its primary concerns, which are presented to the full Commission.
September 19, 2000
The Second Town Meeting is held in Tuscaloosa at the Crestline Baptist Church.
September 21, 2000
The third Town Meeting is scheduled for Mobile; however, it had to be rescheduled for October 23 due to a tropical storm.
September 25, 2000
The fourth Town Meeting is held in Florence at the University of North Alabama.
September 27, 2000
Town Meeting five is held in Birmingham at Birmingham Southern College.
September 28, 2000
Selma hosts the sixth Town Meeting at the First Baptist Church.
October 2, 2000
The seventh Town Meeting is held in Thomasville at Alabama Southern Community College.
October 3, 2000
Conecuh County Courthouse in Evergreen is the site of the eighth Town Meeting.
October 5, 2000
The ninth Town Meeting is held in Dothan at the Dothan City Commission Chambers.
October 9, 2000
Guntersville State Park hosts the tenth Town Meeting near the city of Guntersville.
October 10, 2000
The eleventh Town Meeting is held in Huntsville at Calhoun Community College.
October 12, 2000
The twelfth Town Meeting is held in Anniston at the Anniston City Meeting Center.
October 23, 2000
The Third Town Meeting originally scheduled for September 21 is held in Mobile.
October 24, 2000
The full membership of ACEI holds its third formal meeting in Montgomery, with committees presenting findings.
November 20, 2000
ACEI committees meet: Air and Water Quality Committee and Health and Education Committee.
November 21, 2000
ACEI committees meet: Environmental Review Committee and Lands and Natural Resources Committee. Health and Education Committee meet in Tuscaloosa.
November 29, 2000
ACEI Environmental Review committee meets in Montgomery.
November 30, 2000
ACEI Air and Water Quality Committee hold teleconference.
December 6, 2000
The fourth formal meeting for ACEI is scheduled for Montgomery. Commission members vote on priorities and methods for initiatives to be considered by various means.
December 12, 2000
The ACEI proposal draft was scheduled to be released for public comment, however, it was delayed. The ACEI proposal draft was released for public comment on December 21, 2001.
December 21, 2000.
The ACEI proposal draft was released for public comment. The end of the public comment period was to be January 6th, but was extended until January 12, 2001.
January 6, 2001
Was planned to be the end of the public comment period. Due to extension, public comment period will now end on January 12, 2001.
January 12, 2001.
Public comment period ends.
January 15, 2001
Scheduled for report to Governor Siegelman.
January 30, 2001
Scheduled for full meeting of the Alabama CEI to be held in the state capitol, Montgomery, AL.