Gore said by state law, all ADEM can be concerned about is that the air and water leaving the facility meet standards. He said if an applicant can show that it can meet those standards, it is entitled to the permit.
Gore said if a court ruled in favor of the UM and the UM Foundation, then Middle Tennessee could not operate the quarry, but it would not invalidate the permit.
If ADEM is not concerned with with noise, blasting, environmental and sinkhole issues exactly what are they concerned with? The name of the agency has "environmental management" as part of its title, yet they refuse to acknowledge real issues that have everything to do with protecting Alabama's environment. Instead they hide behind "Best Management Practices" submitted by industries and cite those as the reason to issue permits.
These industries are well aware of this and exploit it to their full advantage: "If we put it on paper we will be "good neighbors" then they will have to issue permits." ADEMs self-imposed impotence ensures there will be no challenge to them, so they don't get heat from the Alabama legislature for upsetting the special interests that have Montgomery bought and paid for.
ADEM seems more concerned with collecting permitting fees above all else. Their water standards are archaic at best, and their enforcements do little to stop repeat offenders. Is this why they allow violations to continue, to add more monies to their coffers? It is certainly more profitable to continue fining entities that are serial offenders than to take strong steps to ensure that they will remain in compliance.
Since the inception of the agency in 1982, it has been rife with corruption, malfeasance, conflicts of interest (i.e. Anita Archie who lobbied for the Business Council of Alabama) and a resistance to truly protect Alabama's environment and her citizens.
Archie's job description, posted on the Business Council's Web site, describes Archie and her staff as "your daily eyes and ears whenever and wherever public policy that affects your business bottom line is being made."
Nice. The fox watches the hen house.
In Talladega, Alabama just six months ago, ADEM refused to allow a public hearing on the ongoing battle against the waste water treatment plant citing a technicality:
A memorandum between ADEM Air Division employees Scott Sanders and Wes Thornhill published on the ADEM Web site stated Sanders explained to Curtis over the telephone that the petition was not directly related to matters listed in the consent order, which was the failure to properly install and operate a scrubber and basin cover at REEF.
Since the petition was not related to the consent order, the approximately 1,800 signatures were not considered. The submitted comments that did not directly relate to the consent order were also not considered when determining if any changes should be made to the consent order, the memorandum stated.
The Talladega story is yet another prime example of how much you can do wrong and continue to operate with ADEM.
So are all the lime production plants in Alabaster, Calera and Sylacauga that operate with quarries. Those files will be posted on this site soon. What is happening in this county is almost criminal and it is past time Shelby Countians knew what they are living with.
Columbiana and the power structure that employs a stranglehold on this county has a lot of things to answer to.
We have little faith that any real change will ever come to Alabama to bring about sorely needed environmental reform on its own, it has to start with the citizens voices banding together and being heard.
We urge all Alabamians to speak loudly each and every chance they can, especially about the current pending quarry in Vincent.
ADEM has vast authority, it could be said their capability borders on omnipotence, but clearly Mr. Gore echoes their real position; do as little as possible to keep the violation money rolling in.
(**Editors note: We have it on good authority that the fight over the quarry in Montevallo is continuing. More will be reported on that as information becomes available.)