Clean Water Agenda for Alabama
Charting a New Course for Clean Water in Alabama
Conservation Groups File Lawsuit, Challenge Permitting for Oil Pipeline in Big Creek Lake Watershed
The Southern Environmental Law Center filed a lawsuit today, on behalf of Mobile Baykeeper, challenging a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Plains Southcap, LLC pipeline routed through the Big Creek Lake watershed. The conservation groups charge that the Corps’ authorization of the crude oil pipeline’s route threatens the safety of the local water supply. The 41-mile-long pipeline will transport 150,000 to 200,000 barrels per day (or 6.3 to 8.4 million gallons per day) of crude oil through the watershed of Big Creek Lake and Hamilton Creek, the primary drinking water source for a majority of Mobile County. Read more in the press release.
Alabama ranks #1 in the country for freshwater species diversity. However, it also ranks #4 in the number of species at risk for extinction – an indicator of the declining condition of the state's rivers and streams.
Many factors threaten to hasten the deterioration of water quality in Alabama’s rivers and streams. These threats include suburban sprawl, stormwater pollution and growing water consumption. Other threats are a lack of coordination among the many agencies responsible for water protection, lax enforcement of rules and regulations and lack of funding. Alabama ranks among the lowest states on per capita spending for environmental protection.
Seeing the need for change, SELC joined forces with the Alabama Rivers Alliance and other citizen groups to develop the Alabama Water Agenda, a bold plan addressing the specific challenges threatening the health of Alabama’s waters.
The agenda targets six distinct threats to freshwater systems, prescribing each a specific course of action:
- Agency Coordination - clarify the decision-making process and increase inter-agency dialogue for better management of water resources.
- Agency Enforcement - provide agencies with sufficient funding and authority to ensure proper enforcement; improve public access to information about violations and enforcement actions.
- Agency Funding - secure increased funding and resources from the state legislature.
- Instream Flow - develop a comprehensive statewide in-stream flow policy that includes strict regulations for water management to ensure sustainable aquatic ecosystems.
- Stormwater Run-off - guide development of local land-use ordinances to reduce stormwater run-off, which carries sediment, pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals into waterways.
- Suburban Sprawl - allow local governments to develop “smart growth” zoning policies and economic incentives to reduce negative impacts on water resources
You can join your fellow Alabamians in this vital effort! Sign up today to support the Alabama Water Agenda.