Guest blogger Adam Snyder, an environmental lobbyist, offers the following wrap-up and analysis of recent green-related activity in the Alabama legislature. This update is for the week of March 19. The legislature has been on a spring recess the week of March 26.
Scrap tires under fire
In the endless search for more money in Alabama state government, one of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s most successful environmental programs is coming under fire.
The Scrap Tire Commission was created in 2003 after a study showed that more than five million scrap tires were produced annually in Alabama, another four to five million scrap tires were being shipped to Alabama annually and 14 to 20 million scrap tires were either stockpiled or disposed of illegally.
A $1 fee is assessed per tire sold in the state to support the program to clean up stockpiles, better enforce scrap tire disposal and cut down on illegal dumps, and create recycling opportunities for the scrap tires.
ADEM, on behalf of the Scrap Tire Commission, has removed millions of scrap tires from more than 50 sites throughout the state.
Despite the success, Representative Jim Barton, R-Mobile has singled out the program through legislation he introduced last week that would redirect the $1-per-tire fee from the Scrap Tire Fund to the state’s General Fund. He’s also introduced separate legislation that would redirect at least a portion of a litany of special earmarked funds back into the General Fund.
Both bills have been assigned to the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.
Are you qualified?
In other matters, the bill to update the qualifications for members of the Alabama Environmental Management Commission passed the House Commerce and Small Business Committee last week. This bill would expand qualifications for certain posts, clarify qualifications in others, and limit appointees to two six-year terms instead of the current three six-year terms.
The legislature will return from spring break on April 3, with 15 meeting days remaining . We’ll return with our next legislative update the week of April 9.
Snyder’s updates are also posted on the Alabama Conservationist blog at conservationalabama.wordpress.com.
You can find a detailed summary of all eco-related bills in Conservation Alabama’s Hot List at www.conservationalabama.org.