U.S. Senators Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala., recently introduced legislation that calls for using at least 80 percent of federal penalties paid by BP for last year’s spill for investments in the long-term health of the Gulf Coast ecosystem and its economies. To read more, check out a July 28 staff report at www.thestatecolumn.com.
WHAT ABOUT US? Entertainer and activist Dick Gregory is part of a group pressing claims for about 10,000 “underserved and underrepresented” BP oil-spill victims, according to an article by Jordan Flaherty posted July 31 at sfbayview.com. The group is critical of the handling of the claims process by Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF). The activists were scheduled to travel to BP headquarters in London Aug. 1-4 to press their claims and present evidence of disparities in responses to black and white claimants. The group cites a July 27 report on the subject by Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, a public interest law firm.
According to Ivan Thomas, also at sfbayview.com, the delegation has requested a meeting with BP executives during their visit to London and plans a rally, prayer vigil and press conference outside St. Paul Cathedral in London at noon Aug. 2. Participants will include Jimmie Gardner, police chief of Pritchard, Ala.
BE LIKE WATER: Alabama should work to better protect its bountiful water resource, according a July 28 editorial by The Anniston Star. According to the paper, the state has ample groundwater reserves, as well as more streams and rivers than 44 states, with a total of 77,000 miles of waterway. These water resources have never been surveyed, however, and large industrial interests make it tougher to protect our water. Read the editorial, “Protecting our water: Alabama must ensure that it doesn’t waste this natural resource,” at www.annistonstar.com
DUDE, YOUR CAR STINKS: An Alabama man was indicted recently for the illegal possession, transportation and sale of protected reptiles in violation of the federal Lacey Act, according to a July 26 release from the Department of Justice. The guy is accused of traveling to Arizona for the past six years to catch state-protected reptiles, including Gila monsters and Ridge-nosed rattle snakes. The guy allegedly transported some of the captured reptiles back to Alabama for his own collection and distributed some to others. He also is accused of providing guide services to other lovely people who wanted to capture protected reptiles. The release is posted at www.justice.gov.
RIVIERE AU CHIEN: I will always love Dog River near Mobile for one wild July Fourth weekend in 1995, when I partied at a rundown fish camp there with a bunch of guys who probably went by Smith and Jones. I remember that the street sign had the name given to the river by French settlers. And Dog River was recently named a federal Scenic Blueway and kayak trail. But all is not well there, according to a July 31 report by Ben Raines of The Mobile Press-Register. Every time it rains, he reports, thousands of bits of trash flow into Dog River, turning the picturesque river into a dump. Check out the story, which includes video, at blog.al.com/live .
COUNT ‘EM—SEVEN MILLION! More than one million pounds of scrap tire material—the equivalent of more than 68,000 passenger tires—have been removed from a site near Robertsdale in Baldwin County, according to an August 1 report by WKRG- TV in Mobile. Work began in May with support from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the Alabama Scrap Tire Commission. This project marked the third cleanup of a large, illegal scrap-tire dump in the state. To date, more than 7 million scrap tires have been removed from unauthorized sites, with the majority of the tires being re-used in manufacturing or as industrial fuel. Check out the story at www.wkrg.com .