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November 17, 2004   Email to Friend 

MOBILE COUNTY GETS TOUGHER ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS
Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
November 17, 2004

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Mobile County legislative delegation introduced two bills that will have a major impact on how landowners manage their property in an effort to get final approval for a new four lane section of U.S. 98. Rep. Rusty Glover, R-Semmes, sponsored the bill that would require Best Management Practices to be used in agriculture and forestry operations only within the Big Creek Lake watershed. The companion bill in the Senate was sponsored by Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile and Sen. Hap Myers R-Mobile. This reservoir provides drinking water for the Mobile area and this will make it the only mandatory BMPs in the state.

The Alabama Farmers Federation was successful in offering amendments to the bill that removed the enforcement power for BMP's from the local governing authorities, which would have allowed them to file for an injunction against agriculture and forestry operations in Mobile County Circuit court. By successfully removing that language, the enforcement power will remain with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

"We commend the local legislators for responding to the Mobile County Farmers Federation and our request to amend the bill and their willingness to listen to the voice of our grassroots on how it would affect their operations," said Federation Director of Ag Legislation Paul Pinyan.

Glover and Figures also were successful in passing bills that limit dirt roads across all of Mobile County, not just within the Big Creek Watershed area. Commissioners will have authority to set minimum standards for road construction on private land. Rep. Spencer Collier, R-Irvington, was the only local Mobile County legislator who voted against the bill. Other local legislators said they didn't like the bill, but wouldn't stand in the way of passing it during the special session to prevent further litigation on the road project. A trial is scheduled in the dispute for Nov. 29.


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