Thursday, February 21, 2008

BEN - February 20, 2008 #299

1) Huntsville Ranked 18th on List of "America's 50 Greenest Cities"

2) Sen. Sessions Presents $1 Million To Red Mountain Park

3) Enviro Bills in the Alabama Statehouse

4) Tuscaloosa E-Cycling Event Collects Nearly 200 Ton

5) Alabama Land Trust and Georgia Land Trust Conservation Easement Totals

6) BEN Notes: Birmingham Audubon Scholarships, Rick Trione & Alabama Coastal Foundation, WRATT Volunteers, Birmingham Historical Society - 'Olmstead Files", Camp McDowell's Teacher FUNshops "State of the Environment Conference, Alabama Rivers Alliance Watershed Leadership Conference, Alabama Hiking Trail Society Conference,  Green Coast 2008, AEC's Green Tie Affair, ALEEC Spring Conference - Jared Diamond,  


Quote of the Day

"The most important political office is that of the private citizen." - Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis


Green Resource Center for Alabama

Save the following dates from the Gren Resource Center of Alabama:

March 15th, 9-5 The Clover Crawl - An Open House for the Center

March 25th  8:30am-4pm "Saving Our Water" - at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

For additional details visit -


1.  Huntsville Ranked 18th on List of "America's 50 Greenest Cities" - According to the Huntsville Times, the magazine Popular Science ranked the city of Huntsville 18th on its list of "America's Greenest Cities."  Huntsville scored the highest among Southeastern cities beating Lexington, Ky. (25th), Athens, Ga. (33rd), Newport News, Va. (41st), Louisville, Ky. (42nd) and Greensboro, NC. (50th).

Popular Science, which has a monthly circulation of about 1.45 million copies, used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and National Geographic's Green Guide to see how American cities ranked in terms of renewable energy, public transit, recycling, and setting aside land for parks and nature preserves. To check out the entire list visit -

2. Sen. Sessions Presents $1 Million To Red Mountain Park - Earlier this month, on February 1st, Senator Jeff Sessions announced and presented $980,000 to the Red Mountain Greenway and Recreational Area Commission.  The federal funding will help the Commission acquire and develop more than 1,100 acres of land atop Red Mountain for the park.

The new 1100 acre park will join its "twin" in East Birmingham - the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve - as two of the largest urban parks in the country.  Red Mountain Park was made possible through the discounted sale of the park land by U.S. Steel.  Along with the park's natural areas, the Red Mountain Park Master Plan includes 18 miles of walking, jogging and bicycling trails, numerous sports and recreational fields, fishing ponds, a bird watching sanctuary and outdoor venues  for shows and exhibitions.

Senator Sessions' support of Red Mountain Park is the latest in a long line of conservation efforts that have included the establishment of the Dugger Mountain Wilderness, Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge, Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge and the expansion of the Bon Secor National Wildlife Refuge.

For more info about Red Mountain Park, visit

3. Enviro Bills in the Alabama Statehouse - Energy, solid waste and quarries are the primary issues the Alabama Legislature have tackled during the first couple of weeks in the Alabama Legislature. Below are brief descriptions of the bills that have been filed.

HB 234 and SB 305 - Energy  -  Alternative and Renewable Energy Act - Tax credit for solar power, capital credit for certain facilities

HB 235 and SB 306 - Energy -  Alternative Motor Fuels Security Act - State tax credit for certain expenses for qualified facilities producing alternative fuels.

HB 237 and SB 308 - Energy - Green Fleets Program - Establish fuel efficiency goals and Green Fleets Review Committee

HB 242 and SB 309 - Energy - Building Commission to adopt 2006 International Conservation Code

HB 313 - Solid Waste - Solid waste disposal management plan review by local governing body, considered denied if inacted upon within 90 days.

HB 354 - Rock Quarries - Madison County rock quarries, location near schools, regulated outside limits of municipality

HB 372 and SB 190 - Limestone County rock quarries to be regulated outside municipalities

SB 131 - Rock Quarries - ADEM cannot issue permits for rock quarry without approval from the county commission.

SB 229 - Clean Indoor Air  - Smoking is prohibited in public places and work places  

4. Tuscaloosa E-Cycling Event Collects Nearly 200 Tons - Want some evidence about the "need" for electronic recycling in Alabama.  

Last month, the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and the city of Tuscaloosa  held an E-Cycling Day.  According to Chris Rue, president of Black Warrior Technology and chairman of the E-Cycling committee, more than 800 people and 50 businesses dropped off their electronic waste at the event, collecting nearly 200 tons of electronic equipment.  The group needed 7 transfer trucks, "filled to the brink,"  carrying approximately 25 tons of equipment.

Along with saving landfill space, the money made from recycling the ink cartridges and cell phones will be used to fund the mayor of Tuscaloosa's Pre-K Initiative.

5. Alabama Land Trust and Georgia Land Trust Conservation Easement Totals - The Alabama Land Trust and Georgia Land Trust enjoyed a banner year during 2007, protecting a record 35,556 acres in Alabama and Georgia with conservation easements.  Here are some highlights from the 2007 protection effort:

* Cahaba River Watershed: 2785 acres were placed in conservation easements protecting more than 5 miles along the River

* Choccolocco Creek: nearly 4 miles of streambed protected 

* Black Warrior River Watershed:  2392 acres placed in conservation easement protecting nearly 6 miles of the river bank

* Tallapoosa River Watershed: 10 miles of stream bank were protected with conservation easements in Chambers, Randolph, and Tallapoosa Counties

* Tennessee River Basin: 2255 acres were protected with a conservation easement in Jackson County

* Coosa River Watershed; conservation easements protected over 2 miles along the river

To date the Alabama Land Trust and Georgia Land Trust has protected 100,000 acres with conservation easements.  For more info on the Land Trust visit -

6. BEN Notes: Birmingham Audubon Scholarships, Rick Trione & Alabama Coastal Foundation, WRATT Volunteers, Birmingham Historical Society - 'Olmstead Files",  Camp McDowell's Teacher FUNshops, "State of the Environment Conference, Alabama Rivers Alliance Watershed Leadership Conference, Alabama Hiking Trail Society Conference,  Green Coast 2008, AEC's Green Tie Affair, ALEEC Spring Conference - Jared Diamond

Birmingham Audubon Scholarships - The Birmingham Audubon Society has scholarships available for teachers to attend the Audubon Mountain Workshop (deadline April 1) and the Maine Audubon Society's Workshop for Educators (deadline March 1).  For additional details visit

Rick Trione & Alabama Coastal Foundation - Check out at   the wonderful story about Fairhope native Rick Trione and his partnership with the Alabama Coastal Foundation.  A blind artist, whose work is now used on a number ACF's merchandise, his art is inspirational and a blessing.  Check out his art at

WRATT Volunteers - The Waste Reduction and Technology Transfer Foundation is seeking retirees to assist the group with their programs, including waste reduction, recycling, energy efficiency and air pollution.  Interested?  Call Danny Patterson at 205-824-8797 or email

Birmingham Historical Society - 'Olmstead Files" - At this year's annual meeting of the Birmingham Historical Society, the organization featured a new book Hand Down Unharmed - Olmstead Files on Birmingham Parks.  Find out how you can purchase this wonderful story of "green" history in Birmingham by visiting -  .

Camp McDowell's Teacher FUNshops -  The 2008 Free McDowell Environmental Center Teacher workshops (FUNshops) are starting to book!  The lost World FUNshop is scheduled for June 2-6 with an added treat of touring a local cave.  The Living Streams FUNshop is scheduled for October 27-29. For more info on Camp McDowell Environmental Center and one of the teacher workshops contact Maggie Wade Johnston at or 205-387-1806.  Also visit -

Legacy "State of the Environment" Conference - Legacy will be holding their 2008 Environmental Partnership Conference on February 27-29 at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach. This year's topic is the "State of the Environment." To register visit -  - The registration deadline is Feb.1st.

Watershed Leadership Conference - The Alabama Rivers Alliance will be holding their annual Watershed Leadership Conference  on March 14-16, in Fairhope, Alabama at Camp Beckwith on Week's Bay.  For conference details visit  .

Alabama Hiking Trail Society Conference - The Alabama Hiking Trail Society will be celebrating the linking of the Pinhoti Trail with the Appalachian Trail at their 2008 Conference to be held March 14-16 at Cheaha State Park.  For details, visit

Green Coast 2008 - Save the Date - The GreenCoast 2008 Conference & Expo will be held at Mobile, Alabama's Arthur Outlaw Convention Center on April 9-10.  Register today at

AEC's Green Tie Affair - Mark your calendars - The Alabama Environmental Council will be holding their 12th Annual Green Tie Affair on April 17th at the Flower Stems Loft on 213 Richard Arrington Blvd. South.  For more info, call 205-322-3126.

ALEEC Spring Conference - Jared Diamond - The Alabama Environmental Education Consortium (ALEEC)  will be holding their Spring Conference this year on April 19th at  Samford University.  This year's featured speaker will be Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel.  His topic will be - Lessons from Environmental Collapses  of Past Societies. For more info about the conference call Virginia Brown at 205-726-4246.