Our Opinion: Officials make right move with tougher restrictions

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 21, 2008

Alabama environmental officials voted Friday to approve tougher requirements for levels of certain pollutants in the state’s rivers, streams and creeks. This issue is especially important to an area like Demopolis where the Tombigbee and Black Warrior rivers meet.

The Alabama Environmental Management Commission voted 3-1 to lower the acceptable level of 71 pollutants in Alabama waterways, the Associated Press stated in a story released Friday. The rule change tightens restrictions for 14 non-carcinogenic pollutants and 57 carcinogenic pollutants, but excludes arsenic, a known carcinogen.

The change reportedly reduces the cancer risk level for pollutants in Alabama’s waters to one in a million.

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The new requirements will mostly affect industries like chemical manufacturers, wood treatment facilities and iron and steel plants.

The measure will affect the new U.S. Steel facility in Sumter County Gov. Bob Riley announced Friday.

Companies will now have to be prepared to face stricter environmental sanctions in order to do business in the state.

Our state’s motto has long been “Alabama the beautiful.” The Environmental Management Commission took steps to keep it that way, and we applaud their efforts.