Connect with us

News

Strange Testifies In Senate Hearing About Obama Power Plant Restrictions

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) testified about his opposition to costly new power plant restrictions being imposed by the Obama EPA during a Senate Hearing on Wednesday, June 18.
Attorney General Luther Strange told the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety that the EPA’s proposed new rules are not only misguided but usurp regulatory authority vested in the states.  AG Strange testified, “EPA’s proposed guidelines for existing power plant performance standards under Clean Air Act section 111(d) are simply the most recent example of the Federal Government usurping authorities properly delegated to the States.”
Strange continued, “The defense of this proposal will be that the States have ‘flexibility,’ but providing the States with a narrow range of costly policy choices, which most of the States did not choose for themselves, does not provide any actual flexibility and still produces the same outcome—higher electricity prices and decreased generation.”  “Repeating over and over the word ‘flexibility’ is not an adequate defense or adequate answer to the low-income consumers in my state, or any other state, who will ask why they must pay more to reduce CO2 emissions when those reductions cannot and will not impact the global climate.”
Strange said that, “The State of Alabama vigorously opposes EPA’s proposed mandate to effectively restructure the electric sector, as it would have disastrous consequences for electric reliability and the economy. Those consequences, moreover, would all stem from a patently unlawful application of the Clean Air Act.”
Attorney General Strange was invited by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety hearing entitled “Climate Change: The Need to Act Now.”  Sessions is the subcommittee’s Ranking Member.
As Alabama’s Attorney General, Luther Strange has actively opposed the Obama administration’s moves to restrict domestic energy production in favor of what he says are more costly alternative energy programs and has threatened to challenge the controversial new power plant standands.
AG Strange said recently in a written statement, “The Obama administration’s EPA ruling to cut carbon emissions at power plants is a direct affront to workers in states like Alabama which not only rely upon coal-fired plants to generate most of their electricity, but are also home to thousands of coal industry jobs.  Make no mistake, this ruling will cost us jobs and raise heating and cooling bills in Alabama.”
Strange continued, “Because the Obama administration has gone around Congress to impose these punitive regulations, it has been left to state Attorneys General to challenge them in court. Since taking office, I have joined Attorneys General from other states in opposing burdensome EPA regulations on our coal industry as well as on energy providers. We were successful in overturning one such ruling in 2012 regarding cross-state air pollution and the Obama administration can expect another legal challenge to its latest intrusive and overreaching carbon emission regulation.”
The EPA ruling announced on Monday, June 2 mandates that the State of Alabama cut its power plant carbon emissions by 27 percent by 2030.  More than half of all the electricity Alabama Power generates in the state comes from coal-fired plants.  According to information released by Strange’s office more than 16,000 Alabama jobs are dependent upon the coal industry which has a $1.3 billion economic impact upon our state.
Luther Strange concluded, “The extremist agenda of the Obama administration is forcing unwarranted higher energy costs upon Americans and further threatening an already sluggish economic recovery. I am reviewing this latest burdensome mandate and will pursue every legal option to stop it.”
According to an economic analysis prepared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky will be especially hard hit by Obama’s new mandates. According to the report those four states will lose $2.1 billion in economic losses a year every year between now and 2030 and tens of thousands of jobs.
AG Luther Strange is running for re-election in November and faces well funded opposition from Rep. Joe Hubbard (D) from Montgomery.
Sen. Jeff Sessions also faces re-election this year, but the popular Republican senator has no Democratic Party opponent.

Advertisement

Crime

Three more prison workers test positive for COVID-19, testing of inmates remains low

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

Two workers at the Bullock Correctional Facility and one employee at the Kilby Correctional Facility have tested positive for COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Corrections said Thursday evening.

The latest confirmed cases among staff bring the total of COVID-19 cases among prison workers to 58. Twelve of those workers have since recovered, the Alabama Department of Corrections said in a press release Thursday. 

ADOC is investigating to determine whether inmates or staff had “direct, prolonged exposure to these staff members,” according to the release. Anyone exposed to the infected staff members will be advised to contact their health care providers and self-quarantine for two weeks, according to the release. 

The latest case at Bullock prison makes 5 workers there who’ve tested positive for coronavirus, and the worker at Kilby prison also became the fifth employee at that facility with a confirmed case of the virus.

There have been confirmed COVID-19 cases in 18 of the state’s 27 facilities, with the Ventress Correctional Facility in Barbour County with the most infected workers, with 12 confirmed cases among staff.

As of noon Thursday, there were no additional confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates, according to ADOC. Of the 11 confirmed cases among inmates, two remain active, according to the department. 

The extent of the spread of the virus among inmates is less clear, however, due to a lack of testing. Just 155 inmates of approximately 22,000 had been tested as of Tuesday, according to the department. Test results for six inmates were still pending. 

Advertisement

An ADOC spokeswoman was working to respond to APR’s questions sent Wednesday asking whether the department had plans to broaden testing among inmates to include asymptomatic people, but APR had not received responses as of Thursday evening. 

ADOC this week completed installation of infrared camera systems at major facilities that can detect if a person attempting to enter or exit the facility is running a temperature greater than 100 degrees, according to the release Thursday. 

“This added layer of screening increases accuracy of readings while reducing the frequency with which individuals must be in close proximity at points of entry/exit,” the release states.

Continue Reading

Elections

League of Women Voters of Alabama sue over voting amid COVID-19 pandemic

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

The League of Women Voters of Alabama on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Gov. Kay Ivey, Secretary of State John Merrill and several Montgomery County election officials asking the court to expand Alabama’s absentee voting and relax other voting measures amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The nonprofit is joined in the suit by 10 plaintiffs who range in age from 60 to 75, many of whom have medical conditions that put them at greater risk for serious complications or death from COVID-19. 

“Voting is a right, not a privilege, and elections must be safe, accessible, and fairly administered,” the League of Women Voters of Alabama said in a press release Thursday. “Alabama’s Constitution specifically requires that the right to vote be protected in times of ‘tumult,’ clearly including the current pandemic.” 

Currently, to vote absentee in Alabama, a person must send a copy of their photo ID and have their ballot signed by a notary or two adults. The lawsuit asks the court to require state officials to use emergency powers to waive the notary or witness requirement, the requirement to supply a copy of a photo ID and to extend no-excuse absentee voting into the fall. 

Among the plaintiffs is Ardis Albany, 73, of Jefferson County who has an artificial aortic valve, according to the lawsuit. 

“Because she fears exposing herself to COVID-19 infection, Ms. Albany has already applied for an absentee ballot for the November 3, 2020, general election,” the complaint states. “Her application checked the box for being out of county on election day, and she is prepared to leave Jefferson County on election day if necessary to vote an absentee ballot.” 

Another plaintiff, 63-year-old Lucinda Livingston of Montgomery County suffers from heart and lung problems and has been sequestered at home since March 17, where she lives with her grandson, who’s under the age of five, according to the complaint. 

“She fears acquiring COVID-19, given her physiological pre-morbidity, and she fears spreading the virus to her grandson at home,” the complaint states. “She has never voted an absentee ballot, but she wishes to do so in the elections held in 2020. She does not have a scanner in her home, cannot make a copy of her photo ID, and has no way safely to get her absentee ballot notarized or signed by two witnesses.” 

Advertisement

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Gov. Ivey pushed the Republican runoff election back until July 14. Although Merrill has allowed those who may be concerned about voting in person in the runoff to vote absentee by checking a box on the ballot that reads “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls.”

Merril has not extended that offer for voters in the municipal and presidential elections in November, however. 

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama continue to rise, while testing for the virus has remained relatively flat in recent weeks. 

“We’re extraordinarily concerned about the numbers that we have been seeing,” said Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, speaking during a press briefing Thursday. 

Harris said the department continues to see community spread of the virus and have identified several hotspots. He’s concerned that the public isn’t taking the virus seriously or following recommendations to wear masks in public and maintain social distancing, he said Thursday. 

“One hundred years ago the nonpartisan League of Women Voters was founded to protect and preserve the right to vote and the integrity of the electoral process,” said Barbara Caddell, President of the League of Women Voters of Alabama, in a statement. “The unexpected risks posed by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID19) challenge our election system to the utmost.  Today, we ask that Alabama’s courts use Alabama’s laws to make it safe and possible for all citizens to vote.”

The League of Woman Voters of Alabama’s lawsuit is similar to a suit by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program which asks the court to require state officials to implement curbside voting for at-risk citizens during the coronavirus pandemic and to remove requirements for certain voter IDs and witnesses requirements.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday filed a brief in that suit that states the department doesn’t believe Alabama’s law that requires witnesses for absentee ballots violates the Voting Rights Act.

Continue Reading

Health

Two patients at Mary Starke Harper Geriatric Psychiatric Center die from COVID-19

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

Two patients at the state’s Mary Starke Harper Geriatric Psychiatric Center have died from COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Mental Health confirmed to APR on Thursday. 

There remained 17 active coronavirus cases among patients at the state-run facility, said ADMH spokeswoman Malissa Valdes-Hubert in a message Thursday. 

One patient at the facility has recovered from the virus, Valdes-Hubert said. Two nurses at the facility have also tested positive for the virus, Valdes-Hubert said on May 15. 

There were no confirmed cases at ADMH’s two other facilities in Tuscaloosa, Bryce Hospital and the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility as of Thursday, Valdes-Hubert said.

Among the preventative measures being taken at the Mary Starke Harper facility are staff temperature checks and screening for other symptoms, and workers are required to wear FDA approved masks, Valdes-Hubert previously said.

Continue Reading

News

Inmate at Elmore prison dies after attack from another inmate

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

A man serving at the Elmore Correctional Facility died Wednesday after being assaulted by another inmate, the Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday. 

Jamaal King, 33, died Tuesday from injuries he received after an attack from another inmate, ADOC spokeswoman Samantha Banks wrote in a message to APR.  

“The ADOC condemns all violence in its facilities, and the fatal actions taken against King by another inmate are being thoroughly investigated,” Banks said in the message. 

King was serving a 22-year sentence after being convicted of murder, according to ADOC. His exact cause of death is pending an autopsy.

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Authors

Advertisement

The V Podcast

Facebook

Trending

.