ADEM ignores concerns

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 6, 2005

The recent decision by ADEM to grant an air and water permit for a proposed limestone quarry in the Alabaster area is disturbing.

The quarry had been the object of numerous objections by citizens, local and state politicians, the University of Montevallo and the Montevallo Foundation over the future effects on nearby Ebenezer Swamp. Alabaster Mayor David Frings, a geologist, pointed out the need for further study during a public hearing on the quarry. But he said ADEM chose not to do the right thing.

That ADEM would grant the permits before the Montevallo lawsuit is complete also seems to be a means to let damage begin that may never have been allowed to happen had the decision been delayed.

To be fair, however, Ron Gore, chief of the air division for ADEM, said his agency couldn’t base its decision on anything other than the quality of the air and water leaving the facility.

He indicated that noise, dust, blasting, property values and other environmental concerns at the swamp are not covered by ADEM. As we understand it, however, ADEM is the state department responsible for environmental management.

If that agency is not concerned with dust, blasting and the swamp’s environmental concerns, what exactly is the agency’s function?

ADEM should be willing to step out and protect the citizens of Alabama against potential environmental problems. The knowledge of potential problems at the proposed quarry should have been a factor in ADEM’s quick decision.