Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Alabama Department of Transportation ordered to comply with Clean Water Act

Alabama Department of Transportation ordered to comply with Clean Water Act 


(ATLANTA June 14, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued Administrative Orders (AOs) against the Alabama Department of Transportation, for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) at the Buttermilk Road Project construction site in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

"By taking these enforcement actions, we are sending a strong message about the importance of protecting rivers, lakes and streams across the Southeast," said Stan Meiburg, EPA Region 4 Acting Regional Administrator. "To protect our regions waters, these regulated entities must comply with the Clean Water Act and promptly take the steps needed to resolve the violations noted in our inspections."

EPA issued AOs requiring the violators to revise and implement their Construction Pollution Prevention Plans, install and maintain Best Management Practices, conduct adequate self-inspections, cease discharging and address areas where sediment had been discharged.

Governor Bob Riley appointed Joe McInnes to serve as Alabama's Transportation Director. He assumed his responsibilities in January 2003. Mr. McInnes comes to the Department of Transportation from the private sector. He worked for Blount International for 25 years and retired as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer.

Contractors for the Alabama Department of Transportation are working on the 2.27-mile project to widen Buttermilk Road to five lanes from between Bradford Boulevard and Interstate 20/59.Earlier this month, Tuscaloosa environmental activist John Wathen  photographed what he claimed were violations of erosion control regulations, among other offenses.

Officials for ALDOT said that while sediment and soil did escape the confines of the silt fences along the construction area, it was not the result of poor planning or lack of concern, it was because of the storm.

ALDOT’s inability to control erosion on Buttermilk Road, which he said allowed dirt and mud to wash into tributaries that feed Hurricane Creek, is a sign that the M-bend could be harmed if plans for the four-lane highway go unchanged.

Fagan said that he and ALDOT are aware of the environmental significance of Hurricane Creek and although he stopped short of guaranteeing that the creek will not be disturbed in any way, he said that ALDOT is sensitive to the issue.
"We recognize, and have recognized for several years, that were going into a sensitive area," Fagan said. "We understand that its supersensitive and were recognizing that early enough in the process that we will take extraordinary efforts to minimize the damage to that area.

ADEM nor the ALDOT made any substantial effort to address this problem. Now they have to spend dwindling state tax revenue to do so.

This action is typical of the present state administraion’s true level of concern for the environment.

An EPA takeover of ADEM is imminent and this action is directed as a wake up call to a lame duck administration that had no concern for this or any other environmental problem in Alabama.
The heir apparent to the governor’s position is unlikely to be any different.

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