Environment

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.

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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.

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.

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 […]

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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.

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.