Guest blogger Adam Snyder, an environmental lobbyist, offers the following wrap-up and analysis of green-related activity in the Alabama legislature for last week, the week of Monday, April 9.
Water, water everywhere
For more than 20 years, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida have been engaged in a bitter battle over the declining amount of water the three states share.
Now, as the legal fight is on the Supreme Court of the United States’ doorstep, Rep. Chad Fincher (R-Semmes) proposed a bill last week that would finally develop a comprehensive water management plan and drought management strategies for the state.
Such a plan has been the key missing element in the state of Alabama’s argument against Atlanta’s plan to keep additional water for the sprawling metropolis from ever reaching the state line.
Having a plan in place will help Alabama empirically argue its case for the amount of water the state needs for drinking water, industrial purposes and habitat protection.
The Water Policy and Management Joint Legislative Committee was scheduled to meet Wednesday, April 18, to discuss the legislation.
Other bills on the move
Also last week, several bills of environmental interest saw some movement, including the following:
— A bill to extend the landfill moratorium passed the House 89-3.
— A bill to divert money for the Scrap Tire Fund for two years passed the House 66-34.
— A bill that would provide tax incentives for farmers to install irrigation devices passed the House 98-1.
— A bill that would create the Energy and Fuel Research Development and Grants Program passed the House 89-0.
— The environmental conspiracy bill passed the Senate committee last week, and its House companion is in committee this week.
Forever Wild funding in danger
Finally, Sen. Shadrack McGill, R-Scottsboro introduced a constitutional amendment that would divert Forever Wild funding to the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and to the Education Trust Fund to fund vocational education in high schools should citizens vote down Forever Wild renewal or should the Forever Wild renewal pass but get less “yes” votes than McGill’s proposed constitutional amendment.
McGill was one of a handful of senators who filibustered legislation last year that would have renewed Forever Wild by legislative action instead of the statewide vote that will take place November 6.
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.