Raise Money for Gasp with Planet Fundraiser!

Raise Money for Gasp with Planet Fundraiser!

Raise Money for Gasp with Planet Fundraiser!

Gasp is proud to be an official Planet Fundraiser Cause! The simplest way to support Gasp is by getting the free Planet Fundraiser app. Simply make everyday purchases at businesses listed in the app, submit a picture of your receipt and we’ll receive a percentage of the total! It’s that easy.

Planet Fundraiser is a free mobile app that helps supporters like you give back to your school or cause of choice just by making everyday purchases. Here’s how it works:

  • Get the Planet Fundraiser app here (select your download of choice).
  • Shop at a business near you (Includes grocery stores, retail, and restaurants, among others).
  • Take a picture of your receipt with the app.
  • A percentage of your total purchase is automatically given to Gasp! 100% of the proceeds come directly to us.

If you’re like many of our supporters, you’ve already gone above and beyond to show your support through numerous events, donations, and other ways to help out. That’s why we’re excited about this opportunity — Planet Fundraiser makes fundraising feel good and takes less of your time.

Whenever you use the Planet Fundraiser app, you’re helping fund our programs and making a difference in our community.

We’re aiming to reach 75 downloads and earn at least $1,000 by February 28. Will you help us meet our goals by downloading the app and submitting your first receipt today?



Alabama Legislature 2018: [Tuesday] Morning Digest

Alabama Legislature 2018: [Tuesday] Morning Digest

Because of President’s Day yesterday, we are doing the Monday Morning Digest on Tuesday this week. There wasn’t much movement on any of the bills last week, but several are pending their third readings in the second house, so they could be on their way to becoming law soon.

HB190 passed the second house and was delivered to the Governor on February 15th (then Commerce & Small business offered an amendment).

While not a state bill, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission finalized a rule on Thursday that makes a place for energy storage in the nation’s wholesale electricity markets. This rule could boost renewable energy deployment and is a great, positive step in addressing climate change.

Bill No.SponsorSummaryCommitteeStatus
HB5Hanes (R)

Whorton

Amending Ala. Code 40-8-140: provide income tax refund check off to state parks, Dep’t of Mental Health and MedicaidWays & Means General Fund
HB40South (R)Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gasTransportation, Utilities and Infrastructure·        2/15: pending third reading

·        2/8: moves to the Senate referred to committee (Transportation and Energy)

·        2/8: passes in House

HB53Johnson ®Repeal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL SB 122

Ways & Means General Fund·        2/8: moves to Senate and referred to committee (Finance and Taxation General Fund)

·        2/6: passes in House

HB58Drake (R)Amend Ala. Code § 9-14-8: Create Park for Patriots Act of 2018. Adds in active, Alabama residentMilitary & Veterans Affairs·        2/15: passes Senate

·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/16: moves to the Senate, referred to committee (Veterans and Military Affairs)

·        1/16: passes in House

HB78Johnson ®Propose local amendment for Coosa County to additional payments from the Alabama

Trust Fund to the Forever Wild Land Trust to reimburse Coosa County for lost ad valorem tax

payments as a result of the acquisition of property

by the Forever Wild Land Trust.

Local Legislation·        1/25: third reading, carried over to Call of the Chair (voice vote adopted)
HB113Johnson (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees

COMPANION BILL SB48

Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure
HB217Morrow (D)Amend Ala. Code 22-22A-6, to change the qualifications of that the Environmental Management Commission of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management so that a geologist may serve as a member of the commission.Boards, Agencies and Commissions
HB224South (R)Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANTION BILL SB180

Health·        2/8: moves to Senate and referred to committee (Health & Human Services)

·        2/8: passes House

HB362Tuggle ®This bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would require the Forever Wild Land Trust to annually reimburse the amount of 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 where the property has been acquired and distributed as other ad valorem tax proceeds unless the county opts out. The amount of reimbursement would be the amount as if the property was taxed at current use value of the property as forest property with good productivity. The bill would also provide that if funding for the Forever Wild Land Trust is not continued after September 30, 2032, the Forever Wild Land Stewardship Account would receive up to $1,000,000 from the Alabama Trust Fund annually.State Government·        2/8: pending 3rd reading, state government introduced amendment
HB370Davis(R)®s bill would further provide for permits for shoreline restoration, including the use of living shoreline techniques, by riparian property owners in coastal areas. The bill would authorize riparian property owners to sever and use materials in their riparian rights use area and for the purposes of shoreline restoration without fee or charge by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or the Department of Environmental Management when the source sediment is used for the construction of living shorelines in front of a property owner’s r’parian property.Agriculture and Forestry
SB33Ward (R)®nd Ala. Code 29-2-270 to 29-2-275: Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy: this bill would revise the membership of the committee, delete the requirement that the committee complete the Alabama Energy Plan, limit the reporting of the committee, delete authorization for the committee to create and staff a Legislative Energy Policy Office, would authorize the committee to form advisory committees as needed.Transportation & Energy·        2/1: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/25: Moves to the House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

·        1/23: Passes Senate

SB48Pittman (R)®nd Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees.

COMPANION BILL HB113

Finance and Taxation General Fund·        1/23: moves to House (referred to committee on Ways & Means General Fund)

·        1/23: passes Senate

SB75Bussman (R)®er the Sunset Law, provides for the continuance of the Surface Mining Commission until October 1, 2022

SB 134 RELATED

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development·        2/1: passes House, assigned Act No.. 2018-74

·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

·        1/16: passes Senate

SB122Sanford (R)®eal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL HB53

Finance and Taxation General Fund·        2/15: pending third reading in the House

·        2/6: moves to the House and referred to committee (Ways & Means General Fund)

·        2/6: passes Senate

SB134Bussman ®Remove the Surface Mining Commission from the sunset review process

RELATED TO SB75

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

·        1/16: Passes Senate

SB180Bussman ®Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANION BILL TO HB224

Health and Human Services·        2/1: moves to House and referred to committee (Health)

·        2/1: passes Senate

SB268Allen (R)Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gas

COMPANION BILL TO HB40

Transportation and Energy
SB273Scofield (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-22A-6, to change the qualifications of that the Environmental Management Commission of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management so that a geologist may serve as a member of the commission.

COMPANION BILL TO HB217

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
SB289Ward (R)Amend Ala. Code 37-8-52 and 37-8-5-3: increase distance to 10 feet in which one can operate tools, machinery, or equipment, or move a building within [six feet] of a high voltage overhead conductor of electricity unless certain safeguards are in place.Transportation and Energy·        2/15: pending third reading in the Senate
Public Transportation
HB10Williams (Jack) (R)Alabama Public Transportation Act. Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund, established, ADECA required to administer trust fund; Public Transportation Trust Fund Advisory Committee, created. ADECA must adopt rules, make annual reports, conduct a public transportation needs assessment, enter into contracts, conduct audits and award grants.Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure
HB25Pringle (R)Amend Ala. Code 23-1-21 and 23-1-21.2: establish a State Transportation Commission (and requirements and duties thereof)Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure
HB97Faulkner (R)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO SB65

Commerce and Small Business
HB190Faulkner (R)Transportation network companies, Public Service Commission permit required to operate, minimum requirements imposedCommerce and Small Business·        2/15: sent to the Governor (amendment offered)

·        2/8: pending third reading in the Senate and amendment offered

·        1/30: moves to Senate

·        1/30: amendments made by Coleman & Givan and co-sponsors (Garrett, Williams (JD), Fridy, Shiver, Faust, Ainsworth, Pettus, Mooney & Drake) and passes house

SB65Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB143

Transportation and EnergyNo movement on this bill since first read: but, SB143 is co-sponsored with Marsh and is identical
SB85Smitherman (D)Creates the Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund

*isn’t noted but seems like companion bill to HB10

Transportation and Energy·        2/1: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/25: Moves to House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

·        1/25: Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 148

SB143Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB65

Tourism and Marketing·        1/25: Passes Senate with substitute by Singleton
Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Morning Digest

Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Morning Digest

A few bills moved out of the House and into the Senate and vice versa this past week (see the table below for updates). The major bill to watch that was introduced and gained momentum last week is HB362 (the state government also offered an amendment). This bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would require the Forever Wild Land Trust to pay counties for any lost property taxes on lands purchased through the program. HB362 starts the clock on the end of future Forever Wild purchases. With each additional acquisition, more taxes are owed, and less funding is available to purchase additional lands for public hunting, fishing and recreation. Our friends at Conservation Alabama wrote a great summary of how HB362 could hurt the Forever Wild Land Trust.

Here are the new bills affecting the environment, energy and public transportation (also in the table below):

  • SB289 was introduced by Cam Ward (R- Bibb County, Chilton County, Hale County, Jefferson County, Shelby County) and increases the distance one may operate machinery within proximity to utility lines.

Hearings this week are as follows:

  • SB122: February 14th at 1:30 PM
Bill No.SponsorSummaryCommitteeStatus
HB5Hanes (R)

Whorton

Amending Ala. Code 40-8-140: provide income tax refund check off to state parks, Dep’t of Mental Health and MedicaidWays & Means General Fund 
HB40South (R)Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gasTransportation, Utilities and Infrastructure·        2/8/2018: moves to the Senate referred to committee (Transportation and Energy)

·        /8/2018: passes in House

HB53Johnson ®Repeal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL SB 122

Ways & Means General Fund·        2/8/18: moves to Senate and referred to committee (Finance and Taxation General Fund)

·        2/6/18: passes in House

HB58Drake (R)Amend Ala. Code § 9-14-8: Create Park for Patriots Act of 2018. Adds in active, Alabama residentMilitary & Veterans Affairs·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/16: moves to the Senate, referred to committee (Veterans and Military Affairs)

·        1/16: passes in House

HB78Johnson ®Propose local amendment for Coosa County to additional payments from the Alabama

Trust Fund to the Forever Wild Land Trust to reimburse Coosa County for lost ad valorem tax

payments as a result of the acquisition of property

by the Forever Wild Land Trust.

Local Legislation·        1/25: third reading, carried over to Call of the Chair (voice vote adopted)
HB113Johnson (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees

COMPANION BILL SB48

Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure 
HB217Morrow (D)Amend Ala. Code 22-22A-6, to change the qualifications of that the Environmental Management Commission of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management so that a geologist may serve as a member of the commission.Boards, Agencies and Commissions 
HB224South (R)Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANTION BILL SB180

Health·        2/8: moves to Senate and referred to committee (Health & Human Services)

·        2/8: passes House

HB362Tuggle ®This bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would require the Forever Wild Land Trust to annually reimburse the amount of 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 where the property has been acquired and distributed as other ad valorem tax proceeds unless the county opts out. The amount of reimbursement would be the amount as if the property was taxed at current use value of the property as forest property with good productivity. The bill would also provide that if funding for the Forever Wild Land Trust is not continued after September 30, 2032, the Forever Wild Land Stewardship Account would receive up to $1,000,000 from the Alabama Trust Fund annually.State Government·        2/8: pending 3rd reading, state government introduced amendment
HB370Davis(R)®s bill would further provide for permits for shoreline restoration, including the use of living shoreline techniques, by riparian property owners in coastal areas. The bill would authorize riparian property owners to sever and use materials in their riparian rights use area and for the purposes of shoreline restoration without fee or charge by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or the Department of Environmental Management when the source sediment is used for the construction of living shorelines in front of a property owner’s r’parian property.Agriculture and Forestry 
SB33Ward (R)®nd Ala. Code 29-2-270 to 29-2-275: Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy: this bill would revise the membership of the committee, delete the requirement that the committee complete the Alabama Energy Plan, limit the reporting of the committee, delete authorization for the committee to create and staff a Legislative Energy Policy Office, would authorize the committee to form advisory committees as needed.Transportation & Energy·        2/1: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/25: Moves to the House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

·        1/23: Passes Senate

SB48Pittman (R)®nd Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees.

COMPANION BILL HB113

Finance and Taxation General Fund·        1/23: moves to House (referred to committee on Ways & Means General Fund)

·        1/23: passes Senate

SB75Bussman (R)®er the Sunset Law, provides for the continuance of the Surface Mining Commission until October 1, 2022

SB 134 RELATED

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development·        2/1: passes House, assigned Act No.. 2018-74

·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

·        1/16: passes Senate

SB122Sanford (R)®eal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL HB53

Finance and Taxation General Fund·        2/6: moves to the House and referred to committee (Ways & Means General Fund)

·        2/6: passes Senate

SB134Bussman ®Remove the Surface Mining Commission from the sunset review process

RELATED TO SB75

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

·        1/16: Passes Senate

SB180Bussman ®Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANION BILL TO HB224

Health and Human Services·        2/1: moves to House and referred to committee (Health)

·        2/1: passes Senate

SB268Allen (R)Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gas

COMPANION BILL TO HB40

Transportation and Energy 
SB273Scofield (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-22A-6, to change the qualifications of that the Environmental Management Commission of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management so that a geologist may serve as a member of the commission.

COMPANION BILL TO HB217

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry 
SB289Ward (R)Amend Ala. Code 37-8-52 and 37-8-5-3: increase distance to 10 feet in which one can operate tools, machinery, or equipment, or move a building within [six feet] of a high voltage overhead conductor of electricity unless certain safeguards are in place.Transportation and Energy 
Public Transportation
HB10Williams (Jack) (R)Alabama Public Transportation Act. Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund, established, ADECA required to administer trust fund; Public Transportation Trust Fund Advisory Committee, created. ADECA must adopt rules, make annual reports, conduct a public transportation needs assessment, enter into contracts, conduct audits and award grants.Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure 
HB25Pringle (R)Amend Ala. Code 23-1-21 and 23-1-21.2: establish a State Transportation Commission (and requirements and duties thereof)Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure 
HB97Faulkner (R)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO SB65

Commerce and Small Business 
HB190Faulkner (R)Transportation network companies, Public Service Commission permit required to operate, minimum requirements imposedCommerce and Small Business·        2/8: pending third reading in the Senate and amendment offered

·        1/30: moves to Senate

·        1/30: amendments made by Coleman & Givan and co-sponsors (Garrett, Williams (JD), Fridy, Shiver, Faust, Ainsworth, Pettus, Mooney & Drake) and passes house

SB65Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB143

Transportation and EnergyNo movement on this bill since first read: but, SB143 is co-sponsored with Marsh and is identical
SB85Smitherman (D)Creates the Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund

*isn’t noted but seems like companion bill to HB10

Transportation and Energy·        2/1: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/25: Moves to House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

·        1/25: Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 148

SB143Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB65

Tourism and Marketing·        1/25: Passes Senate with substitute by Singleton
Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Morning Digest

Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Morning Digest

Not a lot happened last week. You can see updates in the table below. Just to hit the high points, SB33 and SB85 are on the calendar and pending their third reading.

Here are the new bills affecting the environment, energy and public transportation (also in the table below):

  • HB370 was introduced by Randy Davis (R-Baldwin County, Mobile County) on February 2nd and is described in the table.
  • HB362 was introduced by Mark Tuggle (R-Chilton County, Coosa County, Tallapoosa County) on February 1st and is described in the table.
  • SB268 was introduced by Gerald Allen (R- Lamar County, Pickens County, Tuscaloosa County on February 1st and is described in the table.
  • SB273 was introduced by Clay Scofield (R-Blount County, DeKalb County, Madison County, Marshall County) on February 1st and is described in the table.

Hearings this week are as follows:

If anything moves quickly or a bill gets legs under it and should be either opposed or supported, I’ll also let you know. Be sure to check out Gasp’s new Advocacy Toolkit as you read through these bills and decide to take action yourself!

Bill No.SponsorSummaryCommitteeStatus
HB5Hanes (R)

Whorton

Amending Ala. Code 40-8-140: provide income tax refund check off to state parks, Dep’t of Mental Health and MedicaidWays & Means General Fund
HB40South (R)Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gasTransportation, Utilities and Infrastructure
HB53Johnson (R)Repeal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL SB 122

Ways & Means General Fund
HB58Drake (R)Amend Ala. Code § 9-14-8: Create Park for Patriots Act of 2018. Adds in active, Alabama residentMilitary & Veterans Affairs·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/16: moves to the Senate, referred to committee (Veterans and Military Affairs)

·        1/16: passes in House

HB78Johnson ®Propose local amendment for Coosa County to additional payments from the Alabama

Trust Fund to the Forever Wild Land Trust to reimburse Coosa County for lost ad valorem tax

payments as a result of the acquisition of property

by the Forever Wild Land Trust.

Local Legislation·        1/25: third reading, carried over to Call of the Chair (voice vote adopted)
HB113Johnson (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees

COMPANION BILL SB48

Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure
HB217Morrow (D)Amend Ala. Code 22-22A-6, to change the qualifications of that the Environmental Management Commission of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management so that a geologist may serve as a member of the commission.Boards, Agencies and Commissions
HB224South (R)Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANTION BILL SB180

Health
HB362Tuggle (R)This bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would require the Forever Wild Land Trust to annually reimburse the amount of 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 where the property has been acquired and distributed as other ad valorem tax proceeds unless the county opts out. The amount of reimbursement would be the amount as if the property was taxed at current use value of the property as forest property with good productivity. The bill would also provide that if funding for the Forever Wild Land Trust is not continued after September 30, 2032, the Forever Wild Land Stewardship Account would receive up to $1,000,000 from the Alabama Trust Fund annually.State Government
HB370Davis(R)This bill would further provide for permits for shoreline restoration, including the use of living shoreline techniques, by riparian property owners in coastal areas. The bill would authorize riparian property owners to sever and use materials in their riparian rights use area and for the purposes of shoreline restoration without fee or charge by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or the Department of Environmental Management when the source sediment is used for the construction of living shorelines in front of a property owner’s riparian property.Agriculture and Forestry
SB33Ward (R)Amend Ala. Code 29-2-270 to 29-2-275: Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy: this bill would revise the membership of the committee, delete the requirement that the committee complete the Alabama Energy Plan, limit the reporting of the committee, delete authorization for the committee to create and staff a Legislative Energy Policy Office, would authorize the committee to form advisory committees as needed.Transportation & Energy·        2/1: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/25: Moves to the House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

·        1/23: Passes Senate

SB48Pittman (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees.

COMPANION BILL HB113

Finance and Taxation General Fund·        1/23: moves to House (referred to committee on Ways & Means General Fund)

·        1/23: passes Senate

SB75Bussman (R)Under the Sunset Law, provides for the continuance of the Surface Mining Commission until October 1, 2022

SB 134 RELATED

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

·        1/16: passes Senate

SB122Sanford (R)Repeal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL HB53

Finance and Taxation General Fund
SB134Bussman (R)Remove the Surface Mining Commission from the sunset review process

RELATED TO SB75

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development·        1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

·        1/16: Passes Senate

SB180Bussman (R)Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANION BILL TO HB224

Health and Human Services
SB268Allen (R)Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gas

COMPANION BILL TO HB40

Transportation and Energy
SB273Scofield (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-22A-6, to change the qualifications of that the Environmental Management Commission of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management so that a geologist may serve as a member of the commission.

COMPANION BILL TO HB217

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Public Transportation
HB10Williams (Jack) (R)Alabama Public Transportation Act. Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund, established, ADECA required to administer trust fund; Public Transportation Trust Fund Advisory Committee, created. ADECA must adopt rules, make annual reports, conduct a public transportation needs assessment, enter into contracts, conduct audits and award grants.Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure
HB25Pringle (R)Amend Ala. Code 23-1-21 and 23-1-21.2: establish a State Transportation Commission (and requirements and duties thereof)Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure
HB97Faulkner (R)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO SB65

Commerce and Small Business
HB190Faulkner (R)Transportation network companies, Public Service Commission permit required to operate, minimum requirements imposedCommerce and Small Business1/30: moves to Senate

1/30: amendments made by Coleman & Givan and co-sponsors (Garrett, Williams (JD), Fridy, Shiver, Faust, Ainsworth, Pettus, Mooney & Drake) and passes house

SB65Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB143

Transportation and EnergyNo movement on this bill since first read: but, SB143 is co-sponsored with Marsh and is identical
SB85Smitherman (D)Creates the Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund

*isn’t noted but seems like companion bill to HB10

Transportation and Energy·        2/1: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

·        1/25: Moves to House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

·        1/25: Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 148

SB143Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination

policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating

substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB65

Tourism and Marketing·        1/25: Passes Senate with substitute by Singleton

 

UAB School of Public Health Students Volunteer for Gasp

UAB School of Public Health Students Volunteer for Gasp


We are a group of students in UAB’s School of Public Health, and we had the opportunity to work with Gasp for a service learning project during the 2017 Fall semester. Gasp is implementing a citizen scientist program that will empower communities by allowing them to monitor the air that they breathe while at home, work, or play. We assisted Gasp by performing two mini air quality studies to demonstrate the practicality of such a program.

We were also tasked with determining which air monitor would work better for everyday air quality monitoring. Both monitors use lasers/LED lights to determine amount of particulate matter pollution in ambient air; imagine visible dust particles floating in a beam of light. Particulate matter is a mixture of fine particles in the air that can cause adverse health effects.

Pictured are maps and the particulate matter measurements for both Blount Hall (left) and the nursing construction site (right).

We began our data collection with the portable AirBeam monitor. The focus of this first study was to compare the particulate matter levels near the nursing construction site and Blount Hall Residence at UAB. As expected, we found that the air around the nursing construction site consistently had a higher level of particulate matter than Blount Hall, especially during active construction times.

After about a few weeks of data collection with AirBeam, we switched to the PurpleAir monitor. We quickly discovered a downside of this device; it can only monitor air quality from a fixed location because it must be plugged into an outlet. PurpleAir also requires an open wifi network to connect with the database. Because of these limitations, we placed the PurpleAir monitor at University House, one of the apartments close to Railroad Park in Birmingham.

Table 1 and Table 2 are the data which we collected during that time. We compared air quality at different time periods during the day. As the results showed, poor air quality occurred more frequently during evenings because of the abundance of traffic and trains.

Table 1.   Environmental Conditions and Short-term Air Quality Data per Day
DateOct 28thOct 30th Oct 31st Nov 5thNov 5thNov 6thNov 6th
Day of the WeekSatMonTueSunSunMonMon
LocationUniversity House(UH)UHUHUHUHUHUH
TimeCST

08:34pm

CST

06:59pm

CST

09:33pm

CST

04:59pm

CST

06:07pm

CST

00:34am

CST

05:26pm

Wind DirectionESWNWWNWSSENNW
Temp (F)45706375686872
Humidity (%)46427461505859
Short-term Air Quality2238158755289
WeatherCloudySunnyClearClearClearClearMostly Cloudy
Surrounding EnvironmentFew carsFew carsTrainsTrafficTrainsFew/No cars, no trainsTraffic

 

Table 2. Environmental Conditions and Short-term Air Quality Data per Day
DateNov 7thNov 7thNov 8thNov 8thNov 9th Nov 9th
Day of the WeekTueTueWedWedThursThurs
LocationUHUHUHUHUHUH
TimeCST

07:48am

CST

09:50pm

CST

01:55pm

CST

10:40pm

CST

02:45pm

CST

03:22pm

Wind DirectionNNEESESSESWSES
Temp (F)696555505758
Humidity (%)705754614634
Short-term Air Quality897126624540
WeatherCloudyCloudySunny with cloudsRainMostly CloudyMostly Cloudy
Surrounding EnvironmentCarsFew carsCarsCarsCarsCars
Note: This is a continuation of Table 1.

This is where the data is collected and analyzed from the PurpleAir. There is less particulate matter at 1 pm as opposed to 5 pm.

As we completed our air study, we determined that a citizen science program is completely feasible for a city like Birmingham. We also recommend that Gasp should invest in AirBeam over PurpleAir.

Our team’s study was the trial period for AirBeam, and it worked successfully for us. We think that citizen volunteers from the Birmingham area could easily participate in this project, provided they’re given minimal training on how to set up the air monitors beforehand. Collecting accurate data is easy once AirBeam is set up.

Through our time collecting data and working with the monitors, we have determined that the monitor best equipped to handle this level of citizen science program is the AirBeam. The AirBeam is user-friendly and does not require a direct power-source at all times, unlike its PurpleAir counterpart. It also can send data to its app via Bluetooth, which made the data more readily accessible to my group and Gasp.

While the AirBeam is the more expensive of the two, we have determined that it is cost-beneficial and can certainly be used by everyday citizens. This project has been fulfilling in the sense that we feel we are making a difference by collecting useful data for Gasp, while encouraging others to join us in becoming “citizen scientists.”

By Alex Warren, Devan Carmichael, Jeffrey Franks, Kelcie Schlensker, Kendra Harwood, Kuheli Mitra, Yanyu Chen

 

 

Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Morning Digest

Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Morning Digest

Alabama Legislature 2018: Monday Morning Digest

January 29, 2018

Haley Lewis

Staff Attorney

Haley joined Gasp in 2014 as our programs manager and was named staff attorney in 2016. She has a B.A. from George Washington University, J.D. from Cumberland School of Law and an M.P.A. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Email Haley

We are 20 days into the 2018 Legislative Session, and there’s already a lot to keep up with. As always, bills range from no big deal to downright awful this year. I’ll be updating you every Monday on the status of any bills that will affect the environment, public health and public transportation.

If anything moves quickly or a bill gets legs under it and should be either opposed or supported, I’ll also let you know. Be sure to check out Gasp’s new Advocacy Toolkit as you read through these bills and decide to take action yourself!

 

Bill #SponsorSummaryCommitteeStatus
HB5Hanes (R)

Whorton

Amending Ala. Code 40-8-140: provide income tax refund check off to state parks, Dep’t of Mental Health and MedicaidWays & Means General Fund
HB40South (R)Amend Ala. Code 32-9-20: extends length restrictions and allows greater weight restrictions for trucks using natural gasTransportation, Utilities and Infrastructure
HB 53Johnson (R)Repeal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL SB 122

Ways & Means General Fund
HB58Drake (R)Amend Ala. Code § 9-14-8: Create Park for Patriots Act of 2018. Adds in active, Alabama residentMilitary & Veterans Affairs1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

1/16: moves to the Senate, referred to committee (Veterans and Military Affairs)

1/16: passes in House

HB78Johnson (R)Propose local amendment for Coosa County to additional payments from the Alabama

Trust Fund to the Forever Wild Land Trust to reimburse Coosa County for lost ad valorem tax

payments as a result of the acquisition of property

by the Forever Wild Land Trust.

Local Legislation1/25: third reading, carried over to Call of the Chair (voice vote adopted)
HB113Johnson (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees

COMPANION BILL SB48

Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure
HB217Morrow (D)Amend Ala. Code 22-22A-6, to change the qualifications of that the Environmental Management Commission of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management so that a geologist may serve as a member of the commission.Boards, Agencies and Commissions
HB224South (R)Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANTION BILL SB180

Health
SB33Ward (R)Amend Ala. Code 29-2-270 to 29-2-275: Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy: this bill would revise the membership of the committee, delete the requirement that the committee complete the Alabama Energy Plan, limit the reporting of the committee, delete authorization for the committee to create and staff a Legislative Energy Policy Office, would authorize the committee to form advisory committees as needed.Transportation & Energy1/25: Moves to the House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

1/23: Passes Senate

SB48Pittman (R)Amend Ala. Code 22-25C-1 and 22-25C-2: requires bond paid to be used for clean up of facility and repeals provisions for fees.

COMPANION BILL HB113

Finance and Taxation General Fund1/23: moves to House (referred to committee on Ways & Means General Fund)

1/23: passes Senate

SB75Bussman (R)Under the Sunset Law, provides for the continuance of the Surface Mining Commission until October 1, 2022

SB 134 RELATED

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

1/16: passes Senate

SB122Sanford (R)Repeal Ala. Code  22-30B-19: Abolish the Alabama Legacy for Environmental Research Trust Fund

COMPANION BILL HB53

Finance and Taxation General Fund
SB134Bussman (R)Remove the Surface Mining Commission from the sunset review process

RELATED TO SB75

Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development1/25: read for the second time and placed on the calendar

1/18: moves to House (referred to committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions)

1/16: Passes Senate

SB180Bussman (R)Notification to State Health Officer required when changes made to fluoride levels

COMPANION BILL TO HB224

Health and Human Services
Public Transportation
HB10Williams (Jack) (R)Alabama Public Transportation Act. Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund, established, ADECA required to administer trust fund; Public Transportation Trust Fund Advisory Committee, created. ADECA must adopt rules, make annual reports, conduct a public transportation needs assessment, enter into contracts, conduct audits and award grants.Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure
HB25Pringle (R)Amend Ala. Code 23-1-21 and 23-1-21.2: establish a State Transportation Commission (and requirements and duties thereof)Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure
HB97Faulkner (R)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO SB65

Commerce and Small Business
SB65Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB143

Transportation and EnergyNo movement on this bill since first read: but, SB143 is co-sponsored with Marsh and is identical
SB85Smitherman (D)Creates the Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund

*isn’t noted but seems like companion bill to HB10

Transportation and Energy1/25: Moves to House, read for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure

1/25: Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 148

SB143Singleton (D)Would require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the PSC, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating substance policy, and maintain certain records, collect local assessment fee for each trip.

COMPANION BILL TO HB97

IDENTICAL TO SB65

Tourism and Marketing1/25: Passes Senate with substitute by Singleton

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Exposure to air pollution increases risk of birth defects

Exposure to air pollution increases risk of birth defects

Exposure to air pollution increases risk of birth defects

A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics Researchers looks at the relationship between birth defects in about 200,000 infants born between 2006 and 2010 in Ohio and fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) near mothers’ homes around the time of conception. Researchers found that mothers who were exposed to more air pollution were significantly more likely to give birth to babies with birth defects.

Here’s what the study concludes:

Increased exposure to PM2.5 in the periconception period is associated with some modest risk increases for congenital malformations. The most susceptible time of exposure appears to be the 1 month before and after conception. Although the increased risk with PM2.5 exposure is modest, the potential impact on a population basis is noteworthy because all pregnant women have some degree of exposure.”

In other words, a mother’s exposure to air pollution during the month before her child is conceived modestly increases the risk of birth defects. Study author Dr. Emily DeFranco (University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio) said, “Our study indicates that there are several particularly vulnerable exposure periods near the time of conception, both before and after conception, in which exposure to higher levels of particulate matter in the air may pose an increased chance for a birth defect to occur.”

Overall, the average level of PM2.5 was 13.79 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3) for women who lived within 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of an air quality monitoring station. The researchers found for every 10 ug/m3 increase in PM2.5 levels women experienced during the month after conception, babies were 19 percent more likely to be born with birth defects.

Dr. Shruthi Mahalingaiah, an environmental health researcher at Boston University, told Reuters, “If you live in areas of the world with high levels of ambient air pollution, you may consider installing appropriate air or ventilation systems so that your in-home air quality is excellent. Ideally, working together with policy makers, companies, and nations to reduce emissions and innovate around sequestering current levels of emissions would be a goal.”

If you believe healthy air is a human right, sign our pledge today!

Action Alert: Tell the EPA Not to Repeal the Clean Power Plan

Action Alert: Tell the EPA Not to Repeal the Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan is good law and will save lives

President Trump’s EPA is trying to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a commonsense standard to cut carbon emissions from our nation’s existing power plants. Comments are due January 16, and I’d like to urge you to weigh in. Every argument presented in EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s press release is hollow. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on three separate occasions that the EPA has the responsibility under the Clean Air Act and other laws to protect human health and the environment from carbon pollution from power plants and other sources. 

To be clear, Scott Pruitt, who before becoming EPA Administrator sued the EPA 14 times, wants to delay taking action on climate change, which is a direct threat to human health and the environment. If anything, the Clean Power Plan should be strengthened, not repealed nor weakened. The Trump Administration’s own analysis found that the Clean Power Plan could prevent as many as 4,500 premature deaths each year by 2030 and previous estimates found the Clean Power Plan could provide up to $54 billion in health and climate benefits.

Help Save the Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan is a critical step in forcing dirty power plants to reduce the dangerous pollution that harms our health and our planet. Transitioning away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy will make the world a more just, sustainable, and healthy place to live, work, and learn. Send a personalized letter to the EPA in support of the Clean Power Plan.

You may also submit comments in the following ways:

Email

Comments may be sent to a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov. Include Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355 in the subject line of the message.

Fax

Fax your comments to: (202) 566-9744. Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355.

Mail

Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), Mail Code 28221T, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460.

Hand/Courier Delivery

EPA Docket Center, Room 3334, EPA WJC West Building, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

Note: Comments submitted will be part of public record.

But Wait, There’s More!

On December 18, 2017, the EPA released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. This is a separate, but related attack on the Clean Power Plan. This notice asks the public for input on what a replacement rule for the Clean Power Plan would look like. Comments on this notice are due February 18, 2018. Gasp will also be submitting comments.

Radical Five-year Offshore Plan will Heighten Spill Risks For U.S. Coastal Areas

Radical Five-year Offshore Plan will Heighten Spill Risks For U.S. Coastal Areas

Plan Poses Huge Risk to Coastal Economies, Businesses and Marine Life in Previously Undeveloped Waters.

WASHINGTON, DC. — The Trump Administration is ignoring sound science and broad public input in an exhaustive recent review, in its proposed Five-Year Plan for offshore oil and gas leasing released today. The proposed plan promises “severe and unacceptable harm” to America’s publicly-owned oceans, coastal economies, public health, climate and marine life—all in a bid to pursue dubious energy sources that America does not need, according to 64 groups.

The proposed drilling plan unveiled by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke would radically expand offshore drilling in new areas of the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Arctic waters, and auction off permanently protected areas.

The protections in the current five-year plan are based on scientific analysis and a multi-year public comment process, whereas the Trump Administration’s hastily concocted proposal is rife with unsubstantiated claims, faulty economics, and runs roughshod over documented public opinion.  Specifically, the proposal would expose the Arctic waters–our last undeveloped ocean—to drilling, put the Atlantic coast on the chopping block for the first time since 1983, open the Pacific coast–which has not seen federal drilling for decades, and further threaten the debilitated Gulf of Mexico.

The groups’ joint statement follows:

“These ocean waters are not President Trump’s personal playground.  They belong to all Americans and the public wants them preserved and protected, not sold off to multinational oil companies.  

The Trump Administration’s plan to unleash the dangers of drilling offshore is a major, unacceptable risk to hundreds of local communities, their coastal economies, and marine life.” 

This extreme proposal is a shameful give-away that would sacrifice coastal communities, its economies, and our publicly-owned ocean waters. 

Drilling threatens to coat our beaches with oil spills, pollute our air, decimate fisheries, interfere with military training, and keep citizens bound to the whims of foreign oil markets. 

There is no need to force coastal residents to shoulder these risks.  The nation can meet its energy needs and grow jobs by investing in clean, renewable domestic sources like wind and solar that never run out.  We can cut pollution, and keep profits right here at home—not in the pockets of oil industry executives and foreign governments.

No community should have to live every day under the threat of an oil spill that could destroy tourism, shutter hundreds of local businesses, throw thousands out of work, and decimate traditional ways of life.  We cannot afford another crippling Gulf of Mexico disaster—off the shores of Louisiana, the Carolinas, New England, Alaska, California or anywhere else.  

The Trump Administration should heed the public call to preserve our ocean waters and turn back from this reckless, unnecessary expansion of offshore drilling that puts America and marine life last and the bottom lines of private oil companies first.”

With the backing of scienceeconomicsclean energy leaderslocal businesses, and the vast majority of Americans, President Obama permanently protected most of the Arctic Ocean and a chain of deep sea canyons in the Atlantic Ocean, stretching from the Chesapeake Bay to Canada’s border, from dirty and dangerous offshore oil drilling. He also removed the entire Arctic and Atlantic from the five-year leasing plan.

Americans have rejected the Trump Administration’s move to abandon the Obama Administration’s approach by expanding dirty and dangerous offshore drilling and energy exploration.  That opposition includes tens of thousands of local businesses and hundreds of thousands of commercial fishing families that depend on clean coasts, the majority of Americans, over 130 coastal municipalities, many Alaska Natives, bi-partisan lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels, and a host of faith and conservation leaders.

Here is the alphabetical list of the 64 signers of the joint statement:

Alaska Wilderness League, Alliance for Climate Education, America Verde, American Littoral Society, Americans for Conservation & the Arts, Azul, Blue Frontier, Bold Alliance, California Coastkeeper Alliance, California League of Conservation Voters, Center for Biological Diversity, Checks & Balances Project, Clean Ocean Action, Clean Water Action, Climate Hawks Vote, The Climate Reality Project, Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Conservation Law Foundation, Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship, Corazon Latino, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environment America, Environment California, Environment New Jersey, Environmental League of Massachusetts, Florida Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, Gasp, Green Latinos, Greenpeace, Gulf Restoration Network, Hands Across the Sand, Hip Hop Caucus, Inland Ocean Coalition, Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, Latino Farmers and Ranchers, League of Conservation Voters, League of Women Voters of the United States, Marine Conservation Institute, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Massachusetts League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, New York League of Conservation Voters, NextGen America, North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, Oceana, Oil Change International, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, The Power Shift Network, Sachamama, Save Our Shores, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Vermont Conservation Voters, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Voces Verdes, Washington Conservation Voters, Washington Environmental Council, and The Wilderness Society.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Alex Frank, (703) 276-3264 or afrank@hastingsgroup.com.

Help for Coal Impacted Communities: Congress, Don’t Come Home Without It

Help for Coal Impacted Communities: Congress, Don’t Come Home Without It

Help for Coal Impacted Communities: Congress, Don’t Come Home Without It

Stephen Stetson

Stephen Stetson is Senior Campaign Representative for the Alabama Beyond Campaign of the Sierra Club. Email Stephen

Michael Hansen

Michael Hansen is the executive director of Gasp, a healthy air advocacy organization based in Birmingham, Ala. Email Michael

There’s been a lot of talk about Alabama’s recent Senate election, but it’s now time to turn an end-of-year eye to what Congress can do before 2018 is upon us. It’s time to pass the RECLAIM Act. It can happen before the end of the year with just a little direction and focus from the folks in D.C.

The RECLAIM Act is a piece of federal legislation addressing the legacy of America’s coal industry, and it has been stalled since passing the House Committee on Natural Resources in June by a wide margin. It’s hard to understand why it hasn’t moved. The RECLAIM Act has 40 bipartisan House cosponsors, bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate, and favorable reviews from coal-impacted communities in states with historic coal mining. We need Rep. Terri Sewell to step up and help Congressional leadership get this bill passed this year, and time is running out.

The RECLAIM Act is a powerful step toward revitalizing communities hit hardest by the coal industry’s downturn. The bill commits $1 billion to projects that clean up abandoned coalmines, and waters polluted by them. It lays a foundation for future economic development and diversification in coal-impacted communities, and prioritizes public input and community participation on which projects are chosen and how they are run.

RECLAIM is a major opportunity for areas of Alabama that have historically depended on the coal industry for good jobs and economic stability to rebuild themselves by creating new, local economic opportunities. Let’s be honest: RECLAIM isn’t a cure-all for the parts of Alabama that have been hit hardest by America’s shift away from coal. However, it is a strong answer to the call for more opportunities in coal-impacted communities and can be a guiding light for future policies to help rebuild.

Our organizations, Gasp and Sierra Club, have been working hard to shine a light on the effects of the coal economy across Alabama. We support jobs and economic development, but are also aware of the costs to our health and our land presented by the extractive process of mining. Alabama has an opportunity to make something positive out of the mining sites across our state.

In other parts of the country, abandoned mines have already been leveraged to create jobs in agriculture, recreational tourism, retail, and even renewable energy production through sustained revitalization efforts. But funding has frequently been hard to come by. Bringing more of these opportunities to former coal mining areas across the country can be a boon to local workers and their families looking for jobs.

The funding supplied through RECLAIM isn’t just about cleaning up abandoned mining sites, it’s also about rebuilding communities to be stronger and more resilient in a changing economic landscape through planning and strategies that invest in local assets, workers and businesses, and create shared benefits. What’s needed in these communities is real economic diversity and opportunities that extend beyond coal mining with good family-sustaining wages and gainful benefits.

The RECLAIM Act represents an exciting opportunity to create jobs, empower local communities, and build long-term economic security for working families in communities where coal has historically been the backbone of the local economy. There’s no reason for it to be sitting idle in the U.S. House of Representatives, when it could be easily passed on its merits alone.

We need Rep. Sewell to step up and work with Congressional leaders to get this bill moving before the holidays. They shouldn’t return to their home districts without a signed law.


This essay was originally submitted to AL.com as an op-ed.

Show Your Support for the RECLAIM Act

The bipartisan RECLAIM Act would bring $1 billion back to coal-impacted communities. This legislation is a major opportunity for areas of Alabama that have historically depended on the coal industry for good jobs and economic stability to rebuild themselves by creating new, local economic opportunities. Send a personalized letter to your senators and representative saying you support passage of the RECLAIM Act.

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