Environment

University of Alabama Receives $1.8 Million to Study Mussel Biodiversity

A research team led by the University of Alabama has received $1.8 million to study biodiversity of freshwater mussels. The National Science Foundation announced the award Thursday. Carla Atkinson, an assistant biology professor at the University of Alabama and one of the principal investigators on the study, says Alabama has an abundant variety of mussels. […]

Birmingham Development Threatens Chimney Swift Habitat

Chimney swifts are a common sight in Birmingham. You might notice large numbers of them as they funnel into chimneys. Many people mistake them for bats. But as new development replaces old buildings and their chimneys, the chimney swift population is at risk. Birmingham Audubon is working to reverse the decline by constructing “swift towers” throughout the city.

Former State Rep. Oliver Robinson To Be Sentenced in Bribery Scheme

Former State Rep. Oliver Robinson is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in federal court. Federal prosecutors asked the judge in a filing earlier this week to give Robinson a lighter sentence because he pleaded guilty, accepted responsibility for his actions and cooperated with investigators.

Ushuaia Blue: A Play About a Life Devoted to Science

Antarctica happens to be a perfect place to study the impacts of climate change. A UAB researcher has devoted his entire career to just that. This weekend, Professor Jim McClintock brings the issue to the stage, along with a love story. "Ushuaia Blue" explores the issue of global warming through the story of two marine biologists trying to save their relationship.

NAACP Suspends Birmingham President Hezekiah Jackson

The national office of the NAACP has suspended the organization’s local Birmingham President Hezekiah Jackson IV. The NAACP issued a statement Wednesday evening saying it is investigating whether Jackson advised residents not to have their soil tested for potentially damaging toxins and if he received payment for those activities.

Health Department Gives More Time for North Birmingham Residents to Weigh in on Air Quality

The Jefferson County Department of Health extended the deadline for comments on the proposed renewal of an air emissions permit for ABC Coke. The move comes at the request of residents and environmental groups. Two public hearings are set for November at the Department of Health at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Residents may also submit comments online.

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Alabama Power Awaiting Federal Guidance After Court Strips Its License to Operate 7 Coosa River Dams

It’s now official. Monday, Alabama Power Co.’s license to operate its seven Coosa River dams was taken away under terms of a federal court order issued a month ago. The power company will now operate under its prior license.

Don’t Swat! Alabama’s Bugs May Be Disappearing

The insect population has declined worldwide. Getting a grasp on Alabama's bug population has been tough. Here's why.

Air Quality Forecasts and Alerts

Ambient air quality in Jefferson County is forecast daily year-round for fine particulate matter and during the warm season for ozone.

What Are Potential Pollution Sources In Jefferson County?

Thirty-one industries, businesses and other operations in Jefferson County are considered possible large sources of pollution and issued operating permits that recognize that.

County’s Major Air Polluters Concentrated in Low-Income, Minority Neighborhoods

By Hank Black The Oliver Robinson bribery trial, in which guilty verdicts were issued for officials of Drummond Coal Co. and its law firm, Balch & Bingham, revealed a gritty episode about avoiding environmental cleanup in North Birmingham. But there’s a bigger dirty picture. The vast majority of Jefferson County’s 31 major sources of pollution […]

Groups Ask Ivey to Push for New State Environmental Leaders

Environmental groups have asked Gov. Kay Ivey to take steps to remove from office state environmental officials who were implicated during the recent bribery trial over a plan to block the expansion of a Superfund toxic waste site in Tarrant and Inglenook.

ALDOT Pitches Options for Little Cahaba River Bridge. Opponents Warn of Immediate and Permanent Harm to Drinking Water

Traffic authorities seeking to extend a road across the Little Cahaba River in southern Jefferson County promised Tuesday to make it a controlled access road and prevent adjacent development in the watershed that protects metropolitan Birmingham’s drinking water supply.

Cahaba Beach Road Project: Too Dangerous For Our Drinking Water? River Advocates Say Yes.

By Hank Black The ongoing fight over extending Cahaba Beach Road from U.S. 280 across the Little Cahaba River will heat up with another public meeting scheduled for Tuesday. Highway engineers will present an update from a meeting a year ago concerning the project’s impact on the river. The Little Cahaba is a vital link […]

Local NAACP Leader Says He’s Not Resigning Following Concerns Over Bribery Trial

The local NAACP president says he’s not stepping down amid calls for his resignation. Testimony and emails presented in a recent federal bribery trial showed Hezekiah Jackson through his contacts worked to convince North Birmingham residents not to have their soil tested for contamination.

Severe Storms Bring Extensive Damage to North and East Alabama

Crews with the National Weather Service are assessing the damage Tuesday morning after severe storms tore through the area.

Severe Storm Development Around Alabama

Two waves of severe weather are expected today around the state, including supercell thunderstorms, according to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

Trump Plan Would Open Most US Waters to Drilling, Including Gulf

The Trump administration announced Thursday it’s planning to allow new offshore oil and gas drilling in more than 90 percent of U.S. waters, including the Gulf of Mexico. The administration would also offer a record number of leases to energy firms. Of those 47, 12 would be in the Gulf if the plan is approved.

Unique Alabama Salamander Now Federally Protected

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it would protect a rare Alabama salamander under the Endangered Species Act. The Black Warrior waterdog, sometimes called the Alabama mudpuppy, is large, strange, and found only in the state.

Endangered Whooping Cranes Are Coming Back

A couple extra wild birds in a creek doesn’t seem too important … until you realize that not long ago, there were barely twenty of them in the world. Whooping cranes are the tallest bird in America and they can live into their thirties, but that didn’t keep them from near-extinction. Now, though, thanks decades of cooperation, they’re making a comeback.

UAB Heersink School of Medicine
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AEC Marks 50 Years of Lessons Learned

The Alabama Environmental Council turned 50 this year. The home-grown group has been dedicated to preserving wilderness across the state. Over the last few decades, the organization has faced challenges adjusting to the political climate, and it’s evolved to meet changing environmental needs. But as AEC board chairman Keith Johns tells WBHM's Dan Carsen, its biggest success has been getting people and businesses to see the value of setting aside land.

Denver or Bust! UAB Solar House Heads to the Rockies for Competition

After a little blood spilled, a lot of sweat poured and a few tears were shed, a team of UAB students, faculty, staff and alumni is in Denver to compete in the 2017 Solar Decathlon.

Some Irma Evacuees Remain at Talladega Superspeedway

Though most of nearly 200 Irma evacuees from Florida have left Talladega Superspeedway, there are still roughly 60 people in recreational vehicles there.

Heading Into the Path of the Storm

As many people flee Hurricane Irma, some are heading right into its path. Irma is barreling towards Florida and is expected to make landfall tomorrow. David Goodwin, with the American Red Cross in Birmingham, headed to Florida to help.

Bleached Creek Highlights ADEM Shortfalls, Say Critics

Alabama has some of the most ecologically rich waters in the world. But the agency tasked with monitoring them gets less funding per resident than in any other state. Some complain the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is not doing its job. They point to a contaminated creek in Shelby County as on example.

Climate Change Analysis Predicts Losses for South

Scientists and economists have put together a detailed analysis of potential economic damage from climate change. One takeaway: Alabama and the rest of the South could suffer more than other parts of the country.

The Ripple Effect When a Giant Iceberg Breaks Away From Antarctica

This week, scientists watched an iceberg the size of Delaware break away from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf. The mass of ice that broke off weighs about a trillion tons. It’ll eventually melt, but as UAB polar biologist and Antarctic explorer Jim McClintock tells WBHM’s Dan Carsen, there are some long-term concerns.

UAB Unveils Completely Solar-Powered House for Upcoming Competition

The project is part of the 2017 Solar Decathlon competition taking place in Denver this October. UAB is competing against 12 other teams from around the world to see which team can build the best, completely solar-powered, full-size home.

When the Nation’s Top Polluter Drives a Small-Town Economy

The Miller Electric Generating Plant in West Jefferson is the nation's top greenhouse gas polluter. But it's boosted the town's economy, and many residents aren't concerned about pollution.

New Report Ranks Alabama Second-Worst in Drinking Water Pollution

Contaminants called perfluorinated chemicals or PFC’s have been detected in the drinking water according to findings released on June 8 by The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization, in conjunction with researchers at Northeastern University.

Woodlawn Students Growing a Healthier Neighborhood

Where some see blight and signs of economic decline, others see potential. Under the flight path of Birmingham’s airport and a stone's throw from busy railroad tracks, almost a dozen Woodlawn High School environmental science students are planting fruit trees. It's part of a partnership between the school, the Woodlawn Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy that's transforming vacant lots into lush landscapes meant to benefit the neighborhood.

Potential Cuts to EPA Funding Threaten Alabama’s Natural Resources

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls for huge cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Trump administration wants to reduce EPA funding from about $8 billion to about $5 billion. The budget would also slash the agency’s workforce by about 20 percent.