Legal and Policy Updates: February 14, 2020

by Feb 14, 2020

Air Permits

Below are air permits up for public comment across the state. If you are interested in learning more, or getting involved, please email me at [email protected] or call me at 205-701-4272.

County* Facility Type of permit Date posted**
Colbert Technocon International dba Alliance Metals Synthetic Minor Operating Permit 2/13/2020
Marengo WestRock Mill Company, LLC Title V (major) 1/24/2020
Winston Fontaine Trailer Company Title V (major) 1/17/2020
Franklin Tiffin Motorhomes Title V (major) 2/6/2020
Washington Bay Gas Storage Company, LLC Title V (major) 2/5/2020

 

*Jefferson county air permitting is handled by the Jefferson County Dep’t of Health and the City of Huntsville air permitting is handled by the Huntsville Dep’t of Natural Resources. All other counties are handled by the Alabama Dep’t of Environmental Management.

**For Title V permits, comments are due 30 days from the posted day. For other permits, the comment deadline is 15 days from the posted date. Extensions and public hearings can be requested within those time frames.

State Legislation

You can find an updated 2020 AL Legislative Session Bill Tracking sheet here.

So far, the bills we are most interested in are HB36 and SB57, but I’m sure more will come. There hasn’t been movement on either of these this week, but we wanted to go a little deeper into the practical implications of both.

HB36 would amend existing state law to create new criminal penalties for conduct that may arise in the course of peaceful protests and civil disobedience near oil or gas pipelines and other infrastructure facilities. Alabama law already criminalizes trespass onto “critical infrastructure” (Alabama Code, Section 13A-7-4.3). The bill would expand the definition of “critical infrastructure” to include pipelines, and create a new felony offense for damaging or interfering with critical infrastructure while trespassing. It would also newly prohibit the operation of drones over critical infrastructure. Finally, the bill may have implications for organizations involved in protest activity. HB36 also expands criminal trespass to include drone operation. The creation of this new offense could have chilling implications for protesters as well as journalists.

This week, AL.com columnist Kyle Whitmire wrote about the sad state of affairs of the public’s ability to get public records, and mentioned several times Gasp’s issues in getting public records from various entities in Alabama. Sen. Ward’s SB57 still has not moved since it was introduced last week.

Local Policy

You have the opportunity to talk to elected officials and help weigh in on policies you want to see at these upcoming events:

 

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