News | November 14, 2011

ALDOT suspends project after SELC urges restraint

In a detailed letter to the Corps of Engineers last week, SELC said that ALDOT was attempting an end-run around federal environmental law by seeking a Corps permit to build a section of the proposed Northern Beltline before all the studies are in.

In a significant victory for SELC and our partners, ALDOT withdrew its permit application today and told the Birmingham News that it will wait until finishing its re-evaluation of the project before proceeding.

ALDOT was seeking a wetlands-disturbance permit from the Corps for a 3.4-mile segment of the proposed 52-mile beltline, in hopes of beginning construction asap.  But “segmenting” a project this way defies the purpose of the National Environmental Policy Act goal of assessing the full and cumulative  impacts of a major project and alternatives.

ALDOT last conducted an environmental analysis of the project years ago, and is now re-evaluating the impacts of the project. SELC and Black Warrior Riverkeeper intend to keep ALDOT's feet to the fire in terms of conducting a thorough analysis.

See our comments to the Corps of Engineers.