The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said smoke from the Moody landfill fire had been neutralized by about 50%. They hope to have the fire out within the next month, and within that time, citizens plan to rally in Montgomery.
Cahaba Riverkeeper’s David Butler said the rally will be at the Alabama Capitol on February 16 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“This will be a group of citizens that want to express concerns about the failure of ADEM to prevent these types of issues from becoming catastrophic,” said Butler.
There has already been a call to take funds from ADEM due to what some lawmakers call inaction from the agency.
State Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) told 1819 News he planned to draft a bill to change operations within the ADEM.
However, Butler said he does not want the agency to lose funding but would like to see more oversight of the agency by the Environmental Management Commission.
“That’s who oversees ADEM, and in the past, when we have taken things to the commission over the years, we haven’t received responses or heard anything from them,” Butler added. “This is several years of submitting comments with nothing.”
Several groups plan to attend the February 10 Environmental Management Commission meeting at the ADEM office.
Butler said the landfill fire and the recent discovery of an oil dump site leak nearby had been the worst cases he has seen since being a part of the Cahaba Riverkeeper.
“I think both are as bad as anything we’ve ever seen,” said Butler. “The landfill fire has impacted more people’s health than anything we have seen in the past. The oil site is the most extensive dump site we have ever investigated.”
The oil dump site is at 2400 Blackjack Road. ADEM said it issued a notice of violation to the company that operated the business, Alabama Oil & Gas Recovery Inc. The former oil transporter left the property contaminated by not having proper tank and container systems. ADEM inspected the site on January 24 and found multiple violations.
“Specifically, the Department requires that Alabama Oil and Gas Recovery, Inc. immediately secure and stabilize the site to prevent release of contaminants and to submit a written closure plan describing the steps that will be taken by Alabama Oil & Gas Recovery, Inc. to remove and properly manage all material currently in storage at the facility, decontaminate or properly manage all equipment used during the operation and closure of the facility, and remove or decontaminate all impacted soils at the facility,” ADEM stated in a public notice. “The closure plan must include the planned schedule for implementation of the plan.”
Butler said he hopes the actions of citizens will help improve operations at ADEM and within the commission in the future.
“I think this could put more pressure on them to respond,” he said. “I am cautiously optimistic.”
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