Legal and Policy Updates: January 31, 2020

by Jan 31, 2020

Woah. I have not written a blog post in so long. 2019 was jam packed (so far, 2020 still is…), and my legislative updates fell by the wayside. I’m sorry to leave all of you hanging for a year. But I’m back! A couple of my New Years Resolutions are to 1) start up this blog series again (checked that box off as of today, yes!) and 2) start doing more work in mine and my family’s life to tackle climate change (I’ll update you all on that periodically too).

So, I’m doing this a little differently this year. We’ll have a section for air permits, state legislation, local (greater Birmingham area, typically) policy, and federal legislation and policy. You can know that anything checking at least one of these boxes will be something I’ll update you on here:

  • Environmental justice
  • Climate change
  • Air quality, air pollution
  • Environmental health (especially health related to air quality)

So, now that I’ve apologized for my absence (and promised you I’m back) and let you know what to be on the lookout for, let’s dive in.

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**
Jefferson Big Sky Landfill Title V (major) 1/2/2020
Jefferson Reno Refratcories True Minor 1/19/2020
Marengo WestRock Mill Company, LLC Title V (major) 1/24/2020
Winston Fontaine Trailer Company Title V (major) 1/17/2020
Chambers Knauf Insulation, Inc. Title V (major) 1/14/2020
Butler Coastal Forest Products, LLC Title V (major) 1/13/2020

 

*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 date. 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

The legislative session begins February 4, 2020. There are already some prefiled bills we are watching before the session kicks off next week. For right now, while the list is small, it will stay here. But as it grows, we will keep it in a word document and link to it, and just hit the highlights in the post itself.

Bill No. Sponsor Summary Committee Status
SB3 Elliott Provides for the expenditure of funds received by AL Dep’t of Conservation and Natural Resources for coastal conservation, restoration and protection. Governmental Affairs Prefiled: 7/17/2019
SB36 Chambliss Sunset Law: to continue the existence of the Alabama State Board of Respiratory Therapy until October 1, 2024 Governmental Affairs Prefiled: 1/13/2020
SB38 Chambliss Sunset Law: to continue the Public Service Commission until October 1, 2024 Governmental Affairs Prefiled: 1/13/2020
SB49 Coleman-Madison Add a consumer member (to be selected from a list of names submitted by the Alabama Cystic Fibrosis Association, the Alabama Lung Association and the Alabama Asthma Coalition, who shall submit 1 name for consideration) to the AL State Board of Respiratory Therapy. Healthcare Prefiled: 1/22/2020
HB36 Brown (C) Expands the definition of the term “critical infrastructure” to include pipelines. Existing law provides for the commission of the crime of unauthorized entry of a critical infrastructure, including drone usage. Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Prefiled: 1/23/2020
HB46 Hollis This bill would prohibit smoking tobacco products in a motor vehicle when a child aged 14 years and under is also present in the vehicle. Health Prefiled: 1/23/2020

 

Local Policy

Following the ever-evolving aftermath of the criminal corruption that kept the 35th Avenue Site off the National Priorities List (NPL), Gasp and PANIC have been working tirelessly to get the site listed (albeit, 2 criminal convictions and six years later).

On January 21, 2020, Councilor William Parker sponsored a resolution to list the 35th Avenue Site on the NPL, which was approved unanimously. This resolution supports the efforts of Mayor Woodfin to encourage the EPA to list the site on the NPL. Both the Council and the Mayor are calling on Gov. Kay Ivey to also support listing the site on the NPL (because state support is critical to listing).

Federal Legislation and Policy

So, we know EPA is rolling back too many things to count. Our friends protecting our water have been especially busy. We will let you know of any more rollbacks impacting efforts to address climate change, mitigating air pollution and improving air quality.

But for now, on January 28, 2020 House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Subcommittee Chairs Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) unveiled a discussion draft of the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act.

While no piece of legislation is perfect, and we hope for some improvements, it is good to see Congress legislating to address climate change. The CLEAN Future Act would transition the United States to 100% clean energy across the entire economy by 2050, addresses environmental justice issues and includes a national clean energy standard, among other things.

Share This