Natural Resources & Energy Policy - Other Resource Issues
LWVAL Action Priority Level II - Monitoring occurs; action dependent on opportunity and available resources.
Click a bill to see sponsor(s), synopsis, link to the bill, League action and justification for that action, and progress of the bill through the legislative process.
Legend: = LWVAL's support for the legislation. = LWVAL's opposition to the legislation. = new bill activity; change from previous week's report such as new progress in the legislature and/or League action. Bill may be one newly added to the report. These updates are in green font.
Synopsis: Existing law requires $500,000 to be transferred annually from fees collected for the disposal of hazardous waste into the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust, to be used by public institutions of higher learning for funding environmental research and education relating to hazardous waste production and disposal. This bill would repeal the law that establishes the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust. This bill would also provide that any existing moneys in the trust fund revert to the Department of Public Health for the operation of the Bureau of Environmental Services. League Action and Justification: Oppose. This bill would make it more difficult to document the impacts of hazardous waste production and disposal, and could therefore be detrimental to community and environmental health. This would violate League positions.
Bill Progress in Legislature:
02/07/2017: First Read and referred to the House committee on Commerce and Small Business (C&SB)
02/07/2017: First Read and referred to the Senate committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development (FR&ED) 02/16/2017: 2nd Read and placed on the calendar; pending 3rd Read and favorable from FR&ED
02/21/2017: 3rd Reading Passed; Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted by Roll Call
02/23/2017: Read for the first time and referred to the House committee on State Government (SG)
HB403 - Coastal areas, shoreline restoration, living shoreline techniques, use of sand and sediment by riparian property owners without fee or charge by Conservation and Natural Resources Dept. and Environmental Management Dept.
Sponsor(s): Representatives Davis and Faust
Synopsis: This bill would allow owners of waterfront property in coastal areas to obtain permits (without a cost) to use "living shoreline" techniques to restore and protect their property from erosion. This would cut down on bulk heading or building jetties, which tend to erode downstream property and affects the natural coastline processes. League Action and Justification: Support This bill is in keeping with our coastal zone management position which calls for reasonable regulations and periodic reassessments to monitor and ensure the future ecological health of the region.
Bill Progress in Legislature: 03/14/2017: Read for the first time and referred to the House committee on State Government (SG)
LWVAL is monitoring this bill:
HB76 - Environmental Management Dept., centralized waste treatment facilities, permits, bond or financial assurance further provided for, provisions for fees based on cost to treat repealed, Secs. 22-25C-1, 22-25C-2 am'd.
Synopsis: Under existing law, a centralized waste treatment facility is required to receive a permit from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and to post a performance bond or other financial assurance in an amount sufficient to close the facility if the owner or operator ceases proper operation, abandons the facility, or fails to properly maintain the facility. In addition, each facility is required to charge a fee of five percent of the costs of the facility to treat industrial waste, industrial wastewater, or other material. The proceeds of the fees are required to be maintained in a fund by ADEM to pay the costs of closing a facility under the similar conditions as provided for the forfeiture of the bond or other financial assurance. This bill would further specify the forfeiture of the bond or financial assurance and repeal the provisions for fees. The bill would also provide for the refund of fees collected prior to the enactment of this bill.
League Action and Justification: Monitor.League seeks explanation of “other financial assurance." For example, there is a real problem with coal mine closures because companies have been allowed to "self-fund" but end up being unable to pay, leaving the government or communities to pick up the tab for proper closure. Consequently, having an actual fund in place, as is currently the practice, appears to be prudent and accountable governance.
Bill Progress in Legislature:
02/07/2017: Read for the first time and referred to the House committee on Commerce and Small Business (C&SB)
02/23/2017: 2nd Read and placed on the calendar; pending 3rd Read and Favorable from C&SB