Today, I have to announce that we are losing two of our best and brightest. Justine Herlihy, Development Director, and Laura Stone, Program and Grants Coordinator, have accepted new positions at other organizations. While the loss is hard for Mobile Baykeeper, these smart, incredible women are stretching into new challenges as they continue to advocate passionately for their personal missions.
Four Alabama environmental organizations have released new interactive maps highlighting groundwater pollution reported by Alabama Power and Power South at coal ash pits throughout the state. Alabama Power’s federally required monitoring shows significant pollution of groundwater with arsenic, radium, and more. Pollution has persisted even after Alabama Power closed their leaking Gadsden pit using cap-in-place - the same method it plans for millions of tons of coal ash in their pits statewide.
Whatever it was, I knew that one day I was determined to be on the other side of that finish line. Every Grandman racer has their own story to tell – their motivation, struggles, triumphs, and everything that comes in between – and this year I’m excited to begin writing my own. Hopefully it will be the first of many chapters to come in my full-circle Grandman journey.
Alabama Power currently plans to cap-in-place all their coal ash pits statewide. We at Mobile Baykeeper maintain that this is not an effective solution - and now we have Alabama Power’s own reports, as well as a maximum fine from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), to back us up.
Mobile Baykeeper started Swim Where It’s Monitored (SWIM), a program through which local communities can sponsor bacteriological monitoring at sites of their choosing. Once a week during warmer (swim season) months, and once a month during winter, the Baykeeper AmeriCorps Patrol Team collects water quality data at each of these sponsored sites.
rsenic and radium are still leaking from Plant Gadsden’s unlined coal ash pit after Alabama Power closed it using the cap-in-place method. This is the same method the utility plans to use for Plant Barry’s coal ash pit, located just 25 miles north of Mobile on the Mobile River. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) proposed the maximum fine of $250,000 for Alabama Power’s violations at Plant Gadsden.
(Fairhope, Ala.) - Please join us on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Weeks Bay Resource Center for our first Strategic Watershed Awareness and Monitoring Program (SWAMP) Bi-County Conference. During this conference students from five area high schools – Alma Bryant, Citronelle, LeFlore, Vigor, and Fairhope – will be presenting their watershed projects.
(Mobile, Ala.) - The 15th Annual Publix Grandman Triathlon will be held this year on Saturday, June 1, at the Fairhope Municipal Pier. There will also be another Jubilee Kids Triathlon on Sunday, June 2.
Today marks the 9-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, when over 200 million gallons of oil surged through the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. The State of Alabama released an excellent progress report last year noting dollars spent on restoration, projects moving forward, data being collected, and prospects for the future. The more challenging part to explain is what it took to get here.
(Mobile, Ala.) - April 20, 2019, will mark the 9-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, when more than 200 million gallons of oil surged through the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. The State of Alabama released an excellent progress report last year noting dollars spent on restoration, projects moving forward, data being collected, and prospects for the future. The more challenging part to explain is what it took to get here.
(Mobile, Ala.) - Last week, Alabama House Rep. Ledbetter and Alabama Senators Livingston, Reed, Waggoner, Marsh, Chambliss, Givhan, Butler, Scofield, Whatley, Price, and Smitherman will introduce House Bill 346 (HB346) and Senate Bill 244 (SB244), respectively. Both bills would prohibit local communities from deciding how to deal with plastic waste. The Bills are an overstep by the state government into local communities' rights that will have a negative impact on our economies and natural resources.
(Mobile, Ala.) - The Town of Magnolia Springs is clearly happy with Mobile Baykeeper: they are renewing and expanding their partnership this year with an additional SWIM site. Swim Where It's Monitored (SWIM) is a water quality monitoring program that informs citizens of the safety of their favorite swimming and fishing spots. In 2018, Magnolia Springs became the first municipality to sponsor a site to inform and protect their citizens.
“Last year, Mobile Baykeeper started the Litter-Free Mardi Gras campaign, and it was the most substantial volunteer opportunity I have experienced. This campaign allowed me to see first hand the impact Mardi Gras has on our local waterways.”
-an excerpt from “The Mardi Gras Epiphany” by Boris Kresevljak, Mobile Baykeeper AmeriCorps Member, Volunteer Engagement Program
Alabamians deserve clean water just as much as other citizens in the Southeast. Leaving toxic coal ash within a few hundred feet of a major river that is prone to severe flooding is simply nowhere near protective enough. Mobile Baykeeper will fight ardently for coal ash removal until Alabama Power commits to dig it up and move it so Mobile Bay, the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, our local economy, and our communities are safe.
(Mobile, Ala.) - On January 7 2019, during the height of flooding in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Mobile Baykeeper staff flew with SouthWings over the Delta to observe Alabama Power’s 597-acre unlined coal ash pit. More than 21 million tons of toxic coal ash in the pit is only held back by an earthen (dirt) dam and views from the air and the river show flood water dangerously covering as much as 15 feet of the 25 foot dam.
“I have worked with other environmental groups in Alabama and Virginia, but never one where the employees and members are so friendly, dedicated, and passionate about their mission. The inspiration is clear: this area is beautiful and environmentally valuable.”
-an excerpt from “Why I Volunteer” by Julie Biskner
Mobile Baykeeper has succeeded all these years, however, because of your willingness to get involved when asked, write a check when it was needed, and speak up and get engaged on the issues that mean the most to you. We will continue to make a difference because of your continued involvement and investment in our work.
With over 1,500 people educated, 40 presentations given, and 715 surveys taken since September, SWAMP is off to an amazing start! We are extremely excited to bring watershed awareness and education to Mobile and Baldwin counties and are working hard to reach as many students and citizens as possible.
(Mobile, Ala.) - A proposed rule change announced today would strip the Clean Water Act of important protections. Analysis by the Southern Environmental Law Center and the EPA shows the proposal would remove critical safeguards from nearly 60% of Alabama’s 130,000+ miles of creeks and 75% of the state’s wetlands.
A proposed rule change was announced today that would strip the Clean Water Act of important protections. Allowing this proposed rule change would let industrial facilities, sewage plants, and developers impact many previously protected creeks and fill wetlands without restrictions, harming our local economy and way of life.
“At that moment I realized how much of an impact one individual can have on another. All I gave her was a little of my time and that time meant the world to her. To have someone listen and talk to her meant more to that little girl than anything. In the end, I taught that second grade class how to write poems, but they taught me about compassion and acceptance.”
-an excerpt from “The Elementary Volunteer” by Emilee Foster, Mobile Baykeeper AmeriCorps Member, Volunteer Engagement Program
(Mobile, Ala.) - According to communications obtained by Mobile Baykeeper and the Southern Environmental Law Center, Alabama Power had at one point planned to dig up and move toxic coal ash away from the Mobile River site to a separate landfill.