Connect with us

News

Alabama House Passes Bill to Increase Hazardous Waste Jobs

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to decrease the tax levied on hazardous waste that is disposed of in Alabama.  House Bill 181 would cut the fee to just $11 a ton (from over $20).  The bill’s sponsor, state Representative A. J. McCampbell (D) from Greene County said that lowering the tax would lead to create to more businesses choosing to use Alabama for their toxic waste disposal needs creating over 200 new jobs in the hazardous waste disposal business in Emelle, AL.

Representative McCampbell said that the bill was an economic development bill for west Alabama.  McCampbell said that the toxic waste disposal facility employed over 500 people until the Alabama State Legislature hiked the fee in 1993.  Today that facility employs only 56 workers.

Rep. Patricia Todd (D) from Birmingham said, “I am opposed to having more hazardous waste Rep. McCampbell said, “For 38 years you have had no negative environmental impact at all.”  McCampbell said that the site has been and will continue to be closely monitored by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).

Rep. Todd said that she did not trust ADEM.

Rep. McCampbell said that the Selma chalk deposits in Sumter County are 600 feet deep and that they only dig 185 feet to deposit the hazardous waste.  McCampbell said that Alabama only has one hazardous waste facility.  At one time Emelle was the only facility in the country but after the legislature raised the fees 11 other states have gotten into the hazardous waste businesses costing Alabama jobs.  McCampbell said that there is no medical hazardous waste is in Emelle.  That has to be incinerated.

ADVERTISEMENT

Todd asked, “Will the hazardous waste come in by rail or by truck?”

McCampbell replied, “Both.”

Rep. Barry Moore (R) from Enterprise said that, “We are trying to create jobs.”  Moore said that Waste Management  has been there a long time and they do a good job and use Emelle as a training facility.  “We are decreasing taxes to increase revenue and create jobs.”

Rep. Joe Hubbard (D) from Montgomery said, “You have a natural resource in Sumter County, resources that other states do not have.”  “People raised fees in 90s so they laid off people.  We can actually take the fee off and the industry is going to grow.”

Public Service Announcement

Rep. McCampbell said that the annual payroll at Emelle is $21 million.  Making this change payroll will increase the payroll to $94 million.  McCampbell said that the facility has only used 600 of the site’s 2700 acres and could purchase more property if there was a need to expand.

Rep. Hubbard said, “I am very proud of you for doing this economic impact study.”  “This is a fiscally sound deal.  I look forward to voting for this.”

Rep. Kerry Rich (R) from Marshall Co said, “I am going to vote for this bill and I think this is a very good bill.”  Rich said that the soil guarantees that there will never be a leak and the EPA also says this is absolutely safe there has never been a case of any leakage in Emelle.  Rich compared Emelle to fracking which has led to an economic boom in parts of this country.  “There has never been a single case where it has gotten into the water table.  I can’t understand people opposing fracking and developing our energy resources.”  Rich said that our taxes were too high at Emelle which has led to business going to our competition in other states.

McCampbell said that there is a lining process involving real heavy plastics that protects the site from leakage in addition to the natural chalk formation.  McCampbell said that ADEM will get $2 for every ton of material that is stored at Emelle.

Rep. Oliver Robinson (D) from Birmingham said, “I do support this legislation wholeheartedly.  It will create jobs and improve the quality of life for people who live down there.”

Rep. Moore (D) from Birmingham said, “I want to make the company to understand that if anything gets out of control it is going to be on their heads.”  Moore was concerned that that hazardous waste would be moving through Birmingham.  “Birmingham has all of the traffic coming together right there in North Birmingham where I live.  I am giving them (the company) sufficient warning that if we have problems it will not be nice.”

H.B. 181 passed with overwhelming support from both parties: 94 to 8

The bill is being sponsored by Senator Bobby Singleton (D) in the Alabama Senate.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

Advertisement

Health

Alabama hospitals nearing COVID-19 summer surge levels

Wednesday was the 18th straight day with more than 1,000 people in hospitals in Alabama with COVID-19. 

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

UAB Chief of Hospital Medicine Dr. Kierstin Kennedy.

Alabama hospitals reported caring for 1,483 people infected with COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest number of patients since Aug. 11, when the state was enduring its summer surge. Wednesday was also the 18th straight day with more than 1,000 people in hospitals in Alabama with COVID-19. 

The seven-day average of hospitalizations was 1,370 on Wednesday, the 36th straight day of that average rising. The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 2,453 new cases Wednesday. The 14-day average of new cases was — for the eighth day in a row — at a record high of 2,192. 

Across the country, more than 80,000 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Tuesday, a record high and the 15th straight day of record hospitalizations nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project, a coronavirus tracking website.

The CDC this week recommended people not travel for Thanksgiving to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

“The only way for us to successfully get through this pandemic is if we work together,” said Dr. Kierstin Kennedy, UAB’s chief of hospital medicine, in a message Tuesday. “There’s no one subset of the community that’s going to be able to carry the weight of this pandemic and so we all have to take part in wearing our masks, keeping our distance, making sure that we’re washing our hands.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

Kennedy said the best way she can describe the current situation is “Russian Roulette.” 

“Not only in the form of, maybe you get it and you don’t get sick or maybe you get it and you end up in the ICU,” Kennedy said, “but if you do end up sick, are you going to get to the hospital at a time when we’ve got capacity, and we’ve got enough people to take care of you? And that is a scary thought.” 

The Alabama Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported an increase of 60 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. Deaths take time to confirm and the date a death is reported does not necessarily reflect the date on which the individual died. At least 23 of those deaths occurred in November, and 30 occurred in other months. Seven were undated. Data for the last two to three weeks are incomplete.

Public Service Announcement

As of Wednesday, at least 3,532 Alabamians have died of COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Health. During November, at least 195 people have died in Alabama from COVID-19. But ADPH is sure to add more to the month’s tally in the weeks to come as data becomes more complete.

ADPH on Wednesday announced a change that nearly doubled the department’s estimate of people who have recovered from COVID-19, bringing that figure up to 161,946. That change also alters APR’s estimates of how many cases are considered active.

ADPH’s Infectious Disease and Outbreak team “updated some parameters” in the department’s Alabama NEDSS Base Surveillance System, which resulted in the increase, the department said.

Continue Reading

Corruption

Judge reduces former Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard’s prison sentence

The trial court judge ordered his 48-month sentence reduced to 28 months.

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard was booked into jail to begin serving his four-year sentence for ethics violations in September. (VIA LEE COUNTY DETENTION CENTER)

Lee County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Walker on Wednesday reduced former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s prison sentence from four years to just more than two. 

Walker in his order filed Wednesday noted that Hubbard was sentenced to fours years on Aug. 9, 2016, after being convicted of 12 felony ethics charges for misusing his office for personal gain, but that on Aug. 27, 2018, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals reversed convictions on five of those counts. The Alabama Supreme Court later struck down another count.

Hubbard’s attorneys on Sept. 18 filed a motion to revise his sentence, to which the state objected, according to court records, arguing that “Hubbard’s refusal to admit any guilt or express any remorse makes him wholly unfit to receive any leniency.”   

Walker in his order cited state code and wrote that the power of the courts to grant probation “is a matter of grace and lies entirely within the sound discretion of the trial court.” 

“Furthermore, the Court must consider the nature of the Defendant’s crimes. Acts of public corruption harm not just those directly involved, but harm society as a whole,” Walker wrote.

Walker ruled that because six of Hubbard’s original felony counts were later reversed, his entrance should be changed to reflect that, and ordered his 48-month sentence reduced to 28 months. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Wednesday said Walker’s decision to reduce Hubbard’s sentence was the wrong message to send.

“Mr. Hubbard was convicted of the intentional violation of Alabama’s ethics laws, the same laws he championed in the legislature only later to brazenly disregard for his personal enrichment,” Marshall said in a statement. “Even as he sits in state prison as a six-time felon, Mike Hubbard continues to deny any guilt or offer any remorse for his actions in violation of the law.  Reducing his original four-year sentence sends precisely the wrong message to would-be violators of Alabama’s ethics laws.”

Hubbard was booked into the Lee County Jail on Sept. 11, more than four years after his conviction. On Nov. 5 he was taken into custody by the Department of Corrections.

Continue Reading

News

Nick Saban tests positive for COVID-19, has “mild symptoms”

It’s unlikely Saban will be able to coach in person during Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Auburn.

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban.

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Iron Bowl and has mild symptoms, according to a statement from the university on Wednesday. 

“This morning we received notification that Coach Saban tested positive for COVID-19,” said Dr. Jimmy Robinson and Jeff Allan, associate athletic director, in the statement. “He has very mild symptoms, so this test will not be categorized as a false positive. He will follow all appropriate guidelines and isolate at home.” 

Saban had previously tested positive before Alabama’s game against Georgia but was asymptomatic and subsequently tested negative three times, a sign that the positive test could have been a false positive. He returned to coach that game. 

It’s unlikely Saban will be able to coach in person during Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Auburn, given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for quarantining after testing positive and with symptoms. Neither Saban nor the university had spoken about that possibility as of Wednesday morning.

Continue Reading

National

Civil rights leader Bruce Boynton dies at 83

The Dallas County Courthouse Annex will be renamed in honor of Boynton and fellow Civil Rights Movement leader J.L. Chestnut.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Selma attorney and Civil Rights Movement leader Bruce Carver Boynton

Selma attorney and Civil Rights Movement leader Bruce Carver Boynton died from cancer in a Montgomery hospital on Monday. He was 83. The Dallas County Courthouse Annex will be renamed in honor of Boynton and fellow Civil Rights Movement leader J.L. Chestnut.

“We’ve lost a giant of the Civil Rights Movement,” said Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama. “Son of Amelia Boynton Robinson, Bruce Boynton was a Selma native whose refusal to leave a “whites-only” section of a bus station restaurant led to the landmark SCOTUS decision in Boynton v. Virginia overturning racial segregation in public transportation, sparking the Freedom Rides and end of Jim Crow. Let us be inspired by his commitment to keep striving and working toward a more perfect union.”

Boynton attended Howard University Law School in Washington D.C. He was arrested in Richmond, Virginia, in his senior year of law school for refusing to leave a “whites-only” section of a bus station restaurant. That arrest and conviction would be appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where Boynton and civil rights advocates prevailed in the landmark case 1060 Boynton vs. Virginia.

Boynton’s case was handled by famed civil rights era attorney Thurgood Marshal, who would go on to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. The 1960 7-to-2 decision ruled that federal prohibitions barring segregation on interstate buses also applied to bus stations and other interstate travel facilities.

The decision inspired the “Freedom Rides” movement. Some Freedom Riders were attacked when they came to Alabama.

While Boynton received a high score on the Alabama Bar exam, the Alabama Bar prevented him from working in the state for years due to that 1958 trespassing conviction. Undeterred, Boynton worked in Tennessee during the years, bringing school desegregation lawsuits.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sherrilyn Ifill with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said on social media: “NAACP LDF represented Bruce Boynton, who was an unplanned Freedom Rider (he simply wanted to buy a sandwich in a Va bus station stop & when denied was willing to sue & his case went to the SCOTUS) and later Bruce’s mother Amelia Boynton (in Selma after Bloody Sunday).”

His mother, Amelia Boynton, was an early organizer of the voting rights movement. During the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in 1965, she was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She later co-founded the National Voting Rights Museum and annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma. His father S.W. Boynton was also active in the Civil Rights Movement.

Bruce Boynton worked for several years at a Washington D.C. law firm but spent most of his long, illustrious legal career in Selma, Alabama, with a focus on civil rights cases. He was the first Black special prosecutor in Alabama history and at one point he represented Stokely Carmichael.

This year has seen the passing of a number of prominent Civil Rights Movement leaders, including Troy native Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

Public Service Announcement

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement