Environment

Scientists Track Alabama Bear Cub Survival Rate

Alabama’s black bear population could be in trouble. Scientists say young bears might be dying before they reach adulthood. Researchers at Auburn University will study the problem with a $1.1 million grant from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Coroner Releases Names of 23 Tornado Victims

The victims in the Lee County tornado range in age from 6 to 89. Most seem to have died in their homes.

Five Ways to Help Lee County Tornado Victims

Got some furniture to donate? Want to give blood? Here are ways you can help the tornado victims in Lee County.

Crews Ramp up the Search for Lee County Tornado Victims

Crews in Lee County Monday kicked the search and recovery efforts into high gear, as officials expect the injury and death toll to rise.

Dozens Still Missing In Alabama After Deadly Tornadoes Hit

In Alabama, Lee County was hardest hit by the series of tornadoes that devastated the state. Authorities put the death toll at 23 so far, with dozens still missing.

Multiple Fatalities Reported After Tornadoes Rip Through Lee County

Several are dead in Lee County after multiple violent tornadoes touched down Sunday in southeast Alabama. The death toll stands at 22 with more expected as search crews look for more victims.

Plant Gorgas Latest Coal Giant to Fall as Power Companies Turn Toward Natural Gas, Renewables

By Hank Black The Alabama Power Co. announcement that it will retire its three coal-fired units at the William Crawford Gorgas Electric Generating Plant on April 15 is just the latest blow to coal power as economic realities pile up on the industry. In the past four years, Alabama Power has reduced its coal-fired units […]

Despite Restoration Efforts, Alabama Oysters Reach Historic Low

With Alabama oysters at a historic low, scientists involved in restoration efforts are finding that what has worked before is no longer working. Now, state biologists are trying something new.

PowerSouth CEO Blames ‘Extremist Environmental Ideology’ for Shuttering a Coal-Fired Plant in South Alabama

One of Alabama’s oldest coal-fired power plants will close next year. PowerSouth Energy Cooperative’s chief executive blamed the closure on “extremist environmental ideologies” and “environmental activists” in announcing that the Charles R. Lowman electrical generation plant on the Tombigbee River would be shuttered.

Proposed Change to the Clean Water Act Open for Public Comment

The public has 60 days to comment on an EPA proposal that would limit which waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act. In Alabama, environmental groups say the change would have a significant impact.

Drummond to Pay $775,000 Penalty to EPA, Jefferson County Health Department

Drummond Company has agreed to pay a $775,000 civil penalty as part of a settlement contained in a consent decree relating to alleged violations of environmental laws at its ABC Coke Plant in Tarrant.

Uniontown Hopes to Finally Fix its Sewage Problem

The city of Uniontown is set to receive more than $31 million in mostly federal money to address a decades-old sewage issue. But some say the problem should have already been fixed.

North Birmingham Neighborhoods ‘Have Taken a Beating,’ Work to Unite Over Pollution Concerns

The EPA Superfund cleanup and ABC Coke’s proposed air emissions permit have dominated health concerns of residents in northern Birmingham neighborhoods for months. Now officials and residents of several neighborhoods there are attempting to form a coalition to broaden the concerns to other sources of possible pollution.

After the Destruction, Wetumpka Begins to Recover

Wetumpka began what will likely be a long road to recovery on Sunday, one day after a powerful tornado ripped through the town causing extensive damage to a number of buildings and homes.

LeFleur Still Feeling the Sting From Advocacy Groups’ Condemnation, Responds to Their Criticism

Months after testifying in the North Birmingham bribery trial, the state’s top environmental regulator is firing back at watchdog groups calling for his dismissal or resignation.

Trump’s EPA Seeks to Remove Much of Nation’s Headwaters and Wetlands From Protection

The action principally would remove oversight for small tributary headwaters that do not flow year-round and for wetlands not clearly connected to flowing streams.

Utility Filings Show Coal Ash Ponds Are Too Close to Groundwater Reservoirs. Environment Groups Again Call for Moving Toxic Material

All of Alabama Power Company’s open coal ash ponds sit within five feet of an aquifer, or groundwater reservoir, in violation of federal standards, recent company filings confirm.

Trey Glenn Resigns as EPA Regional Administrator After Indictment

Trey Glenn resigned Sunday as EPA Region 4 administrator for Alabama and seven other southeastern states following his indictment on multiple felony ethics charges last week in Jefferson County.

Residents and Activists Oppose ABC Coke Air Permit

Speakers at the first hearing Thursday asked the Jefferson County Department of Health not to renew the emissions permit for ABC Coke. Companies with air emissions are required to have permits renewed every four or five years, the health department says.

EPA Southeast Administrator, Former ADEM Commissioner Indicted on State Ethics Charges

A former director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, who’s now the regional administrator for the EPA, has been indicted on state ethics charges related to the case in which an executive of Drummond Corporation and a partner in the Balch and Bingham law firm were convicted earlier this year.

Birmingham Council Members Push Back Against Road in Watershed That Protects Drinking Water

The Birmingham City Council appears set to oppose construction of the controversial Cahaba Beach road and bridge project across the Little Cahaba River.

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.

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 […]