Petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to remove ADEM's authority over Alabama's water pollution permitting program
On January 14th, 2010, the Alabama Rivers Alliance and thirteen partner organizations from across the state officially submitted a petition indentifying 26 separate areas where the State of Alabama was neglecting its responsibilities under the federal laws outlined in the Clean Water Act. The petition requested that the Environmental Protection Agency remove the Alabama Department of Environmental Management's authority over its water pollution permitting process.
On April 23, 2012, the Alabama Rivers Alliance and partner organizations submitted a supplement to the petition in which they maintained that the State of Alabama continued to neglect its responsibilities under the federal laws outlined in the Clean Water Act and expressing concern that rather than improve its program, the State has systematically eviscerated the program by levying budget cuts on top of budget cuts, leaving the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s funding at fraction of what it was when the Petition was filed and facing still more budget cuts in the coming year. In light of these developments, the petitioners requested that the Environmental Protection Agency take accelerated action to remove the Alabama Department of Environmental Management's authority over its water pollution permitting process.
The petition is expected to engage all interested parties in developing concrete solutions to reform the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s water pollution permitting program so that it is protective of human health and the environment and meets minimum federal standards.
Outcomes So Far:
The petition has been a great success so far. While the final ruling has not been issued from EPA, we have already made great strides toward our stated goal. So far, the petition has successfully brought all petitioners to the table with EPA staff to discuss solutions and build relationships. It has resulted in reorganization and operational improvements within ADEM that are showing on the ground results, such as faster responses to complaints. Additionally, it has brought new awareness among state and regional leaders of the importance of upholding the Clean Water Act and the will of the people of Alabama to ensure that the state of Alabama is held accountable for its actions.