Alabama Power quietly announced public meetings starting Monday, June 29 where they would share their plans for how they will clean up groundwater contamination at 5 coal ash dumps located on the edge of rivers throughout the state, including the Black Warrior, Coosa, and Mobile Rivers.
Their plan is to leave the coal ash in place and put a cap on it.
The purpose of these meetings is to get public input (required by law) on their plans, but Alabama Power performed virtually no outreach, gave no detailed plans for social distancing precautions, and provided no option for virtual attendance. Meanwhile, yesterday, Alabama had our second highest single-day uptick of confirmed cases since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe it is irresponsible of them to hold public meetings during this time.
Join ARA & Alabama’s environmental groups in asking Alabama Power to:
- Reschedule the meetings to allow adequate time for the public to be notified and be able to attend.
- Provide more days between meetings.
- Perform robust outreach to notify the public of the meetings (Facebook event, press release, etc.).
- Provide an option for those who want to attend remotely (Zoom, GoToMeeting or equivalent), including opportunities for remote speaking and questions.
- Have a clear procedure and means to accept comments.
- Hold the meetings in a “town hall” format which allows all participants to hear the same information provided by Alabama Power, ask questions publicly, and hear the concerns of other citizens.
- Plan and specify measures that will be taken to follow CDC COVID-19 guidelines.
- Provide an RSVP to determine how many sessions are needed to provide adequate social distancing.
- Record the meetings and post the recordings publicly (a standard the Alabama Department of Environmental Management regularly follows).
- Provide for virtual follow-up meetings.
To learn more about Coal Ash throughout Alabama, including information on groundwater violations and options for closure, please click here.