by Adam Snyder
Adam Snyder, executive director of Conservation Alabama, is providing Green Space with regular updates regarding the status of key bills related to the environment during the current session of the Alabama legislature.
Even with more than a thousand people from both sides of the debate regarding legalized gambling in Alabama rallying outside the Statehouse in Montgomery last week, discussions inside the building had more to do with energy legislation.
Rep. Greg Wren (R-Montgomery), one of the co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Committee on Energy, has championed many of the energy bills this session. His bill HB127, which promotes fuel use and emission reductions by allowing larger trucks to be equipped with idle-reduction technology, needs only the approval of the state senate before it goes to the governor.
HB264 and SB315, bills meant to update the Alabama Energy and Residential Codes to comply with federal energy and building guidelines, have made it through committee, meaning that they are each only one vote away from being sent to the governor.
In the effort to create transit funding at the state level, Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) has sponsored HB116, would allow fees and taxes levied on cars and fuel to be used toward public transit. Todd convened stakeholders Alabama Arise, a coalition of religious and community groups that promotes state policies that benefit low-income Alabamians; the Alabama Department of Transportation; the Association of County Commissions of Alabama; Conservation Alabama and road builders to discuss HB116. The meeting gave all parties the chance to discuss their concerns and desires related to road and transit funding. Rep. Todd has promised to keep the conversation going in order to find some mechanism to fund transit at the state level.
We gave you an update last week regarding the Alabama Farm Federation-backed hog farm bill (SB61), also referred to as the “Family Farm Preservation Act.” The bill would protect all farms, in particular existing hog operations, from nuisance lawsuits. Representatives from the non-profit environmental group Sand Mountain Concerned Citizens testified last week for the second time regarding hog farms in their community, this time before the House Agriculture Committee. They offered their pleas for better enforcement by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) of concentrated animal feeding operations. Rep. Thomas Jackson, the chair of the committee, suggested that a legislative oversight committee might be in order to investigate ADEM’s enforcement practices.
To learn more about Snyder’s organization, which is Alabama’s only full-time environmental lobbying group, visit www.conservationalabama.org.