ADEM responded by fining SDW $20,000 for 700 days of violations, according to a press release from FOHC. That decision was appealed by FOHC, which provided documentation of 2000 days of violation to the Alabama Environmental Management Commission (the group which oversees ADEM and handles initial appeals of ADEM penalties).
After EMC refused to increase or otherwise modify ADEM’s $20,000 penalty, FOHC filed an appeal with the Montgomery Circuit Court. Judge Charles Price decided on March 10 that ADEM’s penalty was insufficient, and increased the penalty to SDW to $120,500. The FOHC press release called this 500% increase in ADEM’s penalty a “tremendous victory.”
“The price for polluting Tuscaloosa’s waterways just went up,” the release stated. “It will no longer be cheaper to break the laws than to obey them.”