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:
thumbs_up_icon.jpg = LWVAL's support for the legislation.
thumbs_down_icon.jpg = LWVAL's opposition to the legislation.
green-right-arrow.jpg = 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.

Contact information for legislators and committees referenced in the bills below:
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LWVAL has taken a position on these bills:

thumbs_down_icon.jpgHB129 and SB106 - Environment, Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust, abolished, Sec. 22-30B-19 repealed

HB129 Sponsor(s): Representative Johnson
SB106 Sponsor(s):  Senator Sanford 


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:

HB129 

02/07/2017:
First Read and referred to the House committee on Commerce and Small Business (C&SB)

04/13/2017: 2nd Read and placed on the Calendar; pending 3rd Read and Favorable from C&SB


SB106

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


House Action:

02/23/2017:
Read for the first time and referred to the House committee on State Government (SG)

thumbs_up_icon.jpgHB403 - 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)

04/06/2017: 2nd Read and placed on the calendar with 1 amendment (184758-2); pending 3rd Read and Favorable from SG; SG 1st Amendment Offered.

thumbs_down_icon.jpgHB473 Constitutional amendment - Forever Wild Land Trust, property in trust, payment of ad valorem taxes from Alabamam Trust Fund, const. amend.

Sponsor(s): Representatives Johnson and Tuggle

Summary: "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide for additional payments from the Alabama Trust Fund to the Forever Wild Land Trust to reimburse counties for lost ad valorem tax payments as a result of the acquisition of property by the Forever Wild Land Trust.


League Action and Justification: Oppose. LWVAL was a supporter of Forever Wild reauthorization funding in 2011 – as is. Our Natural Resources position calls for support of protecting natural resources in the public interest -- conserved and protected to assure their future availability. This proposed amendment and HB502, which would require payments of ad valorem taxes to counties, would severely undermine the ability of the Land Trust to protect and preserve Alabama Land for current and future generations.

Bill Progress in Legislature:

04/06/2017: First Reading and referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means Education (WE)

thumbs_down_icon.jpgHB502 Constitutional Amendment - Forever Wild Land Trust, ad valorem tax revenue lost on property acquired, reimbursement payments from trust to all entities previously receiving tax revenue, const. amend.

Sponsor(s): Representatives Tuggle and Hurst

Synopsis: Currently, Forever Wild Land Trust properties do not pay ad valorem taxes. This bill would require a constitutional amendment to provide that the Land Trust would have to reimburse the ad valorem tax revenue lost on property acquired to all entities previously receiving tax revenue. The amendment would read as follows:

"Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to require the Forever Wild Land Trust to annually reimburse the amount of any ad valorem tax revenue lost as a result of property previously subject to ad valorem tax being acquired by the Forever Wild Land Trust, which monies shall be paid to the county tax official in each county wherein property has been acquired and distributed as other ad valorem tax proceeds.”


The tax payments would be paid as a first priority payment to the tax official in the county of the acquired property to be used as other ad valorem taxes. Payments would begin with the ad valorem tax year after amendment ratification and continue. The requirement would apply to lands already acquired by Forever Wild.


League Action and Justification: Oppose. LWVAL was a supporter of Forever Wild reauthorization funding in 2011 – as is. Our Natural Resources position calls for support of protecting natural resources in the public interest, conserved to assure their future availability. This proposed amendment and HB473, which would require pass through payments to Forever Wild from the Alabama Trust Fund, would severely undermine the ability of the Land Trust to protect and preserve Alabama Land for current and future generations.

Bill Progress in Legislature:

04/11/2017: First Reading 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.

Sponsor(s): Representative Johnson


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




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