Fourteen Alabama environmental organizations, led by the Alabama Rivers Alliance, filed a petition last month asking the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw the state’s authority over Alabama’s water pollution permitting program. The petition says the state doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of the Clean Water Act. Mitch Reid, who is the Director of the Alabama Rivers Alliance Program, had this to say:
The water pollution permitting program administered by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) is fundamentally broken and does not meet minimum federal standards. This failure is a systemic, statewide problem. From funding to implementation to enforcement, the failures of the current system are leaving the citizens and environment of Alabama unprotected.
The water pollution permitting program, known as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is a part of the federal Clean Water Act. Each state is required to implement at least the minimum standards required in the federal law. For more than a decade, environmental and citizen organizations have worked with state agency leaders to find ways to improve this program. When that failed, the petitioners sought relief through the Alabama Environmental Management Commission (EMC), a seven-member governing board of ADEM appointed by the Governor of Alabama. Solutions have also been sought, when necessary, in the courts.
While there have been modest gains on a few individual issues, these have not addressed the substantial systemic failures of Alabama’s water pollution permitting program. Intervention by the EPA is the only relief left available to the environmental community to ensure the proper actions are taken to fix this defective program. The petition initiates a legal process that is expected to engage EPA, ADEM, and all interested parties in developing concrete solutions to reform ADEM’s water pollution permitting program. The goal of the petitioners is for Alabama’s water pollution permitting program to meet or exceed minimum federal standards under the Clean Water Act in order to protect human health and the environment for the citizens of Alabama.
If you would like to have the names of the groups involved in this case as Plaintiffs, contact Shanna Malone at Shanna.Malone@beasleyallen.com.
Source: Alabama Rivers Alliance
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.