The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said smoke from the Moody landfill fire was about 50% neutralized. They hope to put out the fire within the next month, and within that time, citizens plan to gather in Montgomery.
Cahaba Riverkeeper’s David Butler said the rally will be held on Feb. 16 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Alabama Capitol
“This will be a group of citizens who want to express their concern about ADEM’s failure to prevent these types of problems from becoming catastrophic,” Butler said.
SEE ALSO: Class action lawsuit filed against owners of St. Clair County landfill as underground fire continues to burn
There has already been a call to accept funds from ADEM due to what some lawmakers are calling the agency’s inaction.
State Senator Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) told 1819 News he plans to draft legislation to change operations within ADEM.
However, Butler said he doesn’t want the agency to lose funding but would like to see more oversight of the agency by the Environmental Management Commission.
“That’s who oversees ADEM and in the past when we’ve taken things to the commission over the years we haven’t received any responses or heard from them,” Butler added. “This is several years of submitting comments with nothing.”
Several groups plan to attend the February 10 Environmental Management Commission meeting at the ADEM office.
Butler said the landfill fire and the recent discovery of an oil dump leak nearby were the worst cases he’s seen since being part of the Cahaba Riverkeeper.
“I think both are as bad as anything we’ve ever seen,” Butler said. “The landfill fire has affected the health of more people than anything we have seen in the past. The oil dump is the largest dump we have ever investigated.”
The oil dump is located at 2400 Blackjack Road. ADEM said it had issued a notice of infringement to the company that operated the business, Alabama Oil & Gas Recovery Inc. ADEM inspected the site on January 24 and found several violations.
“Specifically, the Department requires that Alabama Oil and Gas Recovery, Inc. promptly secure and stabilize the site to prevent the release of contaminants and provide a written closure plan detailing the steps to be taken by Alabama Oil & Gas Recovery , Inc. will be undertaken to remove and properly manage all materials currently stored at the facility, to decontaminate or properly manage all equipment used during the operation and closure of the facility, and to remove or decontaminate all affected floors at the facility,” explained ADEM in a public announcement. “The closure plan must include the planned timetable for the implementation of the plan.”
Butler said he hopes citizens’ actions will help to improve the operation of ADEM and within the Commission in the future.
“I think that might put more pressure on them to respond,” he said. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”
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