Environment

Birmingham: A Community that Speaks for the Trees

As you travel around Birmingham, you might notice signs that billing it as “Tree City USA.” The city was given the designation because of its sprawling urban forest. The term urban forest refers to the tree-top landscape seen in some major cities, especially ones in the South. However, the issue is how to balance the vitality and existence of Birmingham’s trees with the city’s planned renaissance and expansion.

Colonial Pipeline’s Shocking Safety History

Colonial Pipeline has a shocking history of what federal regulators call “significant incidents.” Its track record for safety is far worse than some other pipeline companies in the South. Colonial is currently under federal investigation following the gas leak and subsequent explosion that killed two people near Helena.

First Rain After Drought is Both Good and Bad

Groups that monitor Alabama’s waterways say there are some drawbacks and are warning of potential health risks found in and around rivers and streams.

Alabama Cattle Ranchers Hit Hard by Drought

After months of warm, dry weather, it did finally rain this week. But a few days of precipitation won’t erase months of drought. The lack of rainfall has crippled the state’s $2 billion cattle industry. The drought has forced ranchers to buy hay from out-of-state and if the dry weather persists this winter, things could get a lot worse for farmers and their herds.

New “Nutritional Labels” For Trails Go Up At Oak Mountain

Hikers and runners who use trails at Oak Mountain State Park south of Birmingham have a new tool to help guide their outdoor fun. They’re trail signs, but they’re more than simple markers.

One Dead, Several Injured After Gas Pipe Explodes in Shelby County

Colonial Pipeline owns and operates the line located off Grey Hill Road near McCalla which funnels gas to millions of people. It has since been shut down.

54% of support comes from members
Lake Homes Realty

AL Climatologists: Current Drought Once in a Lifetime Phenomenon

State climatologists say the ongoing drought in some areas of Alabama is a phenomenon seen roughly once in a lifetime. The U.S. Drought Monitor rates stricken areas on a scale of D1 to D4, four being areas of exceptional drought. Northeast and north-central Alabama including Jefferson County are at a D3 or above. “For the […]

Several Alabama Counties Under Drought Emergency

The Alabama Drought Declaration issued Tuesday comes after conditions across the stare continue to degrade due to little rainfall and above normal temperatures.

Broken Gas Pipe Removed, Investigation Underway

An investigation is underway into what caused a gas pipeline to start leaking near Helena. Officials with Colonial Pipeline say the broken pipe was removed over the weekend and sent to an outside firm for investigation. Crews constructed a 500 foot bypass to circumvent the broken pipe before it was removed. Colonial says they identified […]

Urban Dwellers Making a Push to Save Disappearing Honeybee

A quote about the honeybee made famous by an anonymous thinker states, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.” As ominous as that sounds it’s not far from true. Bees play an extremely important role in the production of crops and the […]

Gas Flowing Through Pipeline Again, Environmental Groups Following Cleanup

Gasoline is flowing once again through a pipeline that carries fuel to several southeastern states. But, it could still be several days until fuel delivery is back to normal. Crews worked day and night for nearly two weeks constructing a 500-foot bypass off a broken gas pipeline. Officials with Colonial Pipeline – the company that […]

Gas Leak Cleanup Going Well, Bentley Says

Colonial Pipeline, the company that owns and operates the gas pipeline, has deployed roughly 700 people to clean up about 300,000 gallons of gas. It spilled into a pond near Helena.

The Junction: Oasis Gardens Ensley

In an alley in downtown Ensley, Hank Layman is transforming a parking lot into something that’s been missing from the community for years: a garden.

Why Is It So Hard to Recycle Glass in Alabama?

Glass is a part of our daily lives. It’s in our refrigerators and our cabinets. We eat off it. We drink out of it. It’s everywhere. Everywhere but in our recycling bins, and that’s because the majority of waste services in Alabama don’t recycle glass. But that’s not the case at the Alabama Environmental Council’s […]

UAB Launching New Solar Energy System

The $122,000 project atop the Campus Recreation Center is part of a larger plan at UAB to use buildings as incubators for new sustainable technology.

Cleanup Efforts in North Birmingham Continue As Residents Wait

Vivian Starks enjoys growing plants and raising tomatoes in her backyard garden in Collegeville. She can only eat them occasionally though because of the contamination in her neighborhood.

Thousands in Alabama Eligible for Compensation from Volkswagen

Thousands of Alabama residents may be eligible for compensation from Volkswagen following a settlement over emissions fraud.

North Alabama Residents Sue 3M Over Drinking Water Contamination

Safe drinking water is an issue that’s been playing out from Parkersburg, West Virginia to Hoosick Falls, New York. It’s a question many courts are taking on. Among the most recent is in North Alabama, where residents and a water authority are suing 3M, maker of products from Scotchgard to Post-It Notes in connection with toxins in the water supply. The EPA is expected to release new guidelines on safe levels this spring. Meanwhile, the fight is on over who might foot the bill if a cleanup is in order.

Sewer Overflows Persist Despite Billions Spent

Jefferson County's sewer system has been troubled for decades. First it spewed sewage into area rivers. Then, years of corruption prevented repairs from being done and forced the county into what was then the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. The county has spent billions to fix the sewer system, but some neighborhoods in Jefferson County haven't seen much improvement at all.

Voices from Birmingham’s History: Flooding Along Village Creek in Ensley

Birmingham is in a valley, resting at the foothills of the Appalachians. The city’s creeks collect water running down from the mountains and filter it through the floodplains. Last week, WBHM reported on developers today taking a new interest in the 1925 Olmsted Plan for parks and green space in Birmingham. The Olmsted Plan preserved the city's major tributaries, specifically those of Village and Valley Creek.

Skin Wellness
cavu
Lake Homes Realty

Land Water Conservation Fund Expiration Worries Alabamians

The Land Water Conservation Fund is a federal act that provides funding for parks that aren't a part of the state's park system. After five decades, it's set to expire in September, and Congress has yet to act on it. This has some Alabamians worried. Nick Patterson, editor of the weekly newspaper WELD, comments on this and other stories.

Civil Rights Complaint Filed Against Jefferson County Health Department

North Birmingham neighborhoods have long struggled with pollution from nearby heavy industry. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency accepted a civil rights complaint against the Jefferson County Health department…filed by a local environmental activist group. Nick Patterson, the editor of WELD, tells WBHM what’s in the complaint and why it matters.

“To Me, It Was A Good Thing” Feizal Valli Remembers How Hurricane Katrina Brought Him To Birmingham

Feizal Valli worked as a bartender in New Orleans for over a decade. When he first moved to the city back in the 90s, New Orleans was known as the murder capital of the country. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Valli was living on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. He talked to WBHM's Ashley Cleek about his life before and after the storm.

Birmingham Native And Curator John Fields Recalls His Hurricane Katrina Experience

It has been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, and John Fields, curator at the Abroms-Engel Institute of Visual Arts and Birmingham native, lived in New Orleans when the disaster hit. In honor of the tenth anniversary of Katrina, he talked to WBHM's Gina Yu about his experience and the way it changed his life and art.

Gulf States Reach $18.7B Settlement With BP Over Oil Spill

Officials in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have announced an $18.7 billion settlement with BP that resolves years of litigation over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Drummond Coal Won’t Renew Shepherd Bend Mine Permit

Drummond Company Inc., a global leader in coal production and one of the largest private companies in the U.S., has faced controversy ever since it received a permit to mine coal at Shepherd Bend, an area close to an intake for Birmingham’s drinking water supply. Many groups and consumers, worried about toxins and chemicals reaching the water, […]

Birmingham Awarded 3-Star Sustainability Certification

Birmingham was awarded a three star rating by the STAR Communities on Friday. STAR stands for "Sustainability tools for assessing and rating communities." In a ceremony at UAB, Mayor William Bell addressed the crowd about his vision for a sustainable Birmingham. But, as the weekly newspaper WELD reports, the city still has a ways to go. Nick Patterson, the editor of WELD joins WBHM to explain where the city needs to show some improvement.

Home Energy Efficiency

It's cold outside... and maybe inside, if your house isn't properly insulated. Home energy efficiency is a big issue and a new study gives Alabama high marks - and low marks - for how the state handles it. WBHM's Tanya Ott has our story.

Alabama Organic Agriculture

In the United States, sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to nearly $25 billion in 2009. There are five million certified organic acres in the U.S.. But you won't find many in Alabama because, as WBHM's Tanya Ott reports, a combination of cultural and market forces means this state has the fewest certified organic farms per-capita in the country.

Northern Beltline: Environmental Impact

Birmingham's Northern Beltline has been in the planning stages for decades. But there's a renewed sense of urgency to get the multi-billion dollar project moving forward. The Alabama Department of Transportation has said it could issue the first contracts by the end of this year. But as Tanya Ott reports environmental concerns could put the brakes on the project, at least temporarily.

C-FISH Program Aims to Help Charter Boats Rebound

Salt water fishing is a $226 million a year business in Alabama. But the industry took a serious blow after last year's Deep Water Horizon oil spill. As the 2011 fishing season kicks off this month, many charter boat captains aren't sure how they'll fare. Some of them are pinning their hopes on a new educational program called C-Fish.

John Davis Treks East for Wildlife Conservation

There's nothing more enjoyable than a walk in the park, but what about a walk through several parks? Or better yet, what about a walk through several states? Not many people would take on such a long on a trek, but that's exactly what one man is doing.