Have you ever heard rumblings that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) is just a rubber stamp for whatever industry wants in the way of permitting and leniency with pollution violations? Well, according to recent reports in the Wall Street Journal and al.com, those rumblings have just proven true. ADEM, which is led by appointees from the governor’s office and others in Montgomery, gave yet another lazy nod, this time to far-away NEW YORK CITY, allowing that city to SEND TRAIN AFTER LONG TRAINLOAD OF THEIR SOLID HUMAN WASTE TO BE DUMPED, ABOVE GROUND, IN JEFFERSON AND WALKER COUNTIES. Let that sink in for a minute. In the last year, about 400,000 TONS of NYC sewage travelled by rail through miles of Alabama to eventually be dumped at a landfill within the most populous county in the state.
Mayors of towns most affected went to Kay Ivey’s office last week to beg for help. As of this writing, they’ve heard nothing. Meanwhile residents and businesses complain bitterly about the stench, the flies, the health concerns and the effect on their property values. I recently posted about similar sewage-related problems: the recurrence of hookworm disease in rural Alabama where poor sewage systems create virtual “petri dishes” in which bacteria and diseases thrive; the massive sewage spills taking place in Mobile, affecting the Bay and waters in and around Baldwin county; Tuscaloosa’s frequent floods of sewage and toxic chemical waste spilling into streets, neighborhoods, lakes and waters of the Black Warrior River.
There’s a theme here.
Failure of proper action by city and state leaders when it comes to our crumbling infrastructure and public safety. The overarching failure by public officials to protect families and children from diseases and health issues is appalling. Believe me when I tell you that addressing this will be one of the major priorities of my administration. After all, the most fundamental job of government is to protect its citizens. We must elect leaders who take that charge seriously.