LEGISLATIVE GREEN UPDATE:
We welcome Adam Snyder of Conservation Alabama for his latest update of the status of eco-related bills under consideration in the Alabama legislature:
After the legislature took a two-week recess for redistricting hearings, the remaining days of the session are proving to be a busy time as members try to get the last bit of legislation through this year. The final budgets are still being sorted out between Governor Bentley and the legislature, but once they are complete, the body will address the remaining legislation. And chief among them is the renewal of Forever Wild.
Last week, for the second time this session, the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee voted to support a Forever Wild bill–this time SB369, which will place re-authorization of Forever Wild on the November 2012 ballot. Because the bill is a constitutional amendment, it will need 63 votes in the House (instead of the 53 needed for a simple majority). The last time a Forever Wild bill went before the House—earlier in this session—it received 72 votes.
But Forever Wild isn’t the only environmental bill of interest awaiting a vote. A bill that would eliminate ADEM’s current requirement to charge polluters a minimum of $100 per day per violation is awaiting final passage by the Senate. ADEM has rarely adhered to the $100 minimum, but in a time when the agency is awaiting possible EPA takeover because of lax enforcement, the rollback is surprising.
On other issues, the complete streets bill, one that would require ALDOT to consider all users when designing roadways, has received a lot of attention as of late, with Alabama being the fifth-most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians. Also, the life-cycle budgeting bill, which would allow governments to consider greener and cheaper options over the life cycle of a product, is awaiting final passage by the Senate. However, most other environmental bills have little to no chance of passage at this late date.
You can follow legislation related to the environment each week on Conservation Alabama’s Hot List at conservationalabama.org.
PROTECTING OUR WATER:
The Alabama Water Watch (AWW) Mini-Conference and Picnic is scheduled for Saturday, June 11, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., at Auburn University. The event will feature the Data to Action Workshop, designed to help AWW volunteers use and interpret data from the group to help improve water quality in the state. Attendees can also learn more about sharing watershed-action success stories with the public. For details, call the AWW Office at (888)-844- 4785 or email awwProg@auburn.edu. For info about the AWW, go to www.alabamarivers.org.
Girl Scouts Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen are working to eliminate palm oil from Girl Scout cookies, calling the ingredient a contributor to deforestation and loss of orangutan habitat. The two Michigan teens are a step closer to a solution, according to a May 24 report from Julie Jargon of The Wall Street Journal called “Girl Scouts Bake Up Plan To Tackle Cookie Worries.” During a meeting last week at Girl Scouts of the USA headquarters in New York City, scout officials agreed to research palm oil to determine if they can get more of the ingredient from rain forests that haven’t been cleared for palm oil plantations, or if they can replace it with something else. Read Jargon’s article at online.wsj.com. Watch a report by Marysol Castro at www.cbsnews.com/video, called “Girl Scout cookies: An environmental threat?
GREEN ART? COOL!
Here in the Green Briefs, we’ve brought you info about such critical eco-topics as green sex and green celebrities. This week it’s green art. For a guide to artists expressing a concern with the environment through the form or content of their art and a list of shops and galleries peddling green art-merch, check out www.greenart.info/guide. For a site that calls itself an “online museum of environmental art,” with featured artists, exhibitions and a calendar, visit www.greenmuseum.org.
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