Environmental groups say that Alabama has failed to implement portions of the federal Clean Water Act, and gave my state a D+ on a water quality report card. The report, issued by the Gulf Restoration Network and the Alabama Rivers Alliance, did not examine whether Alabama is properly enforcing federal environmental policy. The groups are questioning instead whether Alabama has even implemented these policies.
Other Gulf states didn’t fare any better on the “Clean Up Your Act!” Report Card released last month. The best grade went to Texas, but that state only got a “C.” Alabama’s grade was low because ADEM failed to set limits on the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that can be dumped into rivers and Mobile Bay by industry and municipal sewer systems, according to the groups. Such limits are called for under the Clean Water Act.
As you may know, nitrogen and phosphorus are key ingredients in fertilizers and organic waste. Together, they represent the main culprits in the formation of both the Gulf of Mexico’s low-oxygen area, known as the dead zone, and the smaller dead zone that develops in Mobile Bay each summer. This year, the Mobile Press Register reported that Mobile Bay’s dead zone developed earlier than normal and appeared to be more widespread than in previous years.
Under the Clean Water Act, Alabama was supposed to have adopted statewide limits for nitrogen and phosphorus by 2004. Those standards, according to the environmental groups, have still not been adopted in 2009 regardless of whether ADEM has enforced limits on some facilities.
Source: Mobile Press Register
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