Environment

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.

“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.

A Few Miles From Mobile, A Wealth Of History, Nature — And Danger

Just outside this coastal city, five rivers converge in what feels like an alien world — what one conservationist calls "America's Amazon. It is the wildest, most diverse place ... in the country."

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.

Alabama and the Oil Spill: Gulf Fish Numbers Up

Since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, marine scientists have come upon a surprising finding: more fish. Researchers at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab report dramatic increases in some species. But the seafood industry is responding to the news with a wave of skepticism.

Alabama and The Oil Spill: GM to Recycle Booms into Chevy Volt

As oil spill cleanup continues along the Gulf coast, one of the big questions is what to do with oil-soaked booms. Clean-up crews deployed about 100 miles of booms along the Alabama and Louisiana coast. Environmental groups worry those used booms could end up in landfills. But General Motors has announced plans to repurpose the booms as parts for its new electric hybrid car.

Alabama and the Oil Spill: Environmental Justice

This week, environmental leaders from across the country will meet in Washington for the White House Environmental Justice Forum and the BP Gulf Oil Spill will be front and center.

Rent-a-Goat Business Takes Off

What do you do when you've got a large tract of land that's overgrown with weeds and brush? You could bring in big lawnmowers and bushhogs. But if you don't want the carbon dioxide they spew into the air, you might consider something a little more low-key: renting goats.

E-Recycling

You recycle, right? Of course you do! But what about that "less-than-smart-phone" you just replaced with the latest model? What about those batteries in the clock? Sometimes it's hard to know what to do with electronic gizmos, but as WBHM's Tanya Ott reports some e-recycling is up dramatically in the south.

WBHM Partners on Gulf Coast Consortium to Cover Oil Spill

WBHM is partnering with public media outlets across the Gulf Coast region to create the Gulf Coast Consortium, a multi-media project to expand reporting on the Gulf oil spill.

Conservation: The Behavior Gap

What are you doing to help the environment? Have you ditched the plastic water bottles and carry a reusable one instead. Maybe you bike to work a couple days a week. According to a recent study, there's sometimes a big gap between what we say we should do and what we actually do.

Oil Spill and Hair Sausages

Many of us watch the coverage of the BP Oil Spill and wonder: What can we do to help? Some people are traveling to the Gulf region to volunteer. But others who can't make the trip are getting creative with hair?

New EPA Sulfur Dioxide Rules

Next week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will release much-anticipated new rules limiting sulfur dioxide in the air. When sulfur dioxide spews from smoke stacks and diesel engines it can cause acid rain. But that's just the beginning of the problem.

Alabama and the Oil Spill: Seafood Safety

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is looming over the seafood industry. Early tests don't show substantial chemical contamination of Gulf seafood. But officials have closed many fishing grounds. And that means we're going to see more imported seafood in the coming months. But as WBHM's Tanya Ott reports, some people question the safety of those imports.