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Green Polls and Surveys

How does Alabama rank on the environment compared to our neighbors?
How do the people of Alabama feel about the environment?

Important questions. BEN's Green Polls and Surveys tries to answer these
questions by providing readers with the latest polls, surveys and reports
about Alabama and the environment. I hope you enjoy reading the findings -
from polls to special reports - that have appeared in BEN over the past year.

Best wishes,

Pat Byington
Author and Publisher of BEN


1) New Study Ranks Alabama 49th Among Green Indicators
2) Sierra Club Releases Sprawl Report in Alabama
3) Mobile Register Poll: Ozone Health Effects Concern Citizens
4) New Mobile Register Poll: Government Not Focused Enough on Enviro Issues
5) BEN "Special" Legacy's Comprehensive Enviro Poll
6) Poll: LWCF Support Very Strong
7) Poll: Sturgeon Listing and ESA Strongly Supported
8) Ozone Poll Produces Surprising Results
9) Sierra Club Study: Alabama Not Addressing Sprawl
10) How Does Alabama Compare Regionally In "Number" of Endangered Species
11) State of Alabama's Beaches... Nature Lost
12) Jefferson County Ozone Action Poll/Survey Released
13) Zogby Poll: Republicans Prefer Green Candidates
14) Mobile Register Polls Alabamians On National Energy Policy
15) Mobile Area Cited for High Lead Poisoning Rates
16) Clean Air "Top Concern" According to Poll
17) Alabama Counties Receive "F" From Lung Association Ozone Report
18) Study: Alabama Littered With 20 Million Scrap Tires
19) USA Today Features Sprawl: Check Out How Alabama Cities Rank
20) American Lung Association's State of the Air 2000 Statistics
21) Decade-long Study Claims One Million Acres of New Forests In Alabama
22) Alabama Delegation Grades Poorly On LCV Environmental Scorecard
23) Ozone Season Opens: Group Releases Survey Results
24) Alabama Tops Biodiversity List
25) Mobile Register: Poll Conducted on Environment and Black Bears
26) Alabama Ranked 2nd in Drinking Water Quality


1) New Study Ranks Alabama 49th Among Green Indicators

A new study, titled "Gold and Green 2000," conducted by the Institute for Southern Studies, uses two separate lists of indicators to evaluate each state's economic performance and the stresses on the natural environment. The 20 environmental indicators range from toxic emissions and pesticide use to energy consumption and urban sprawl. The 20 economic measures include annual pay, business start-ups and workplace injury rates.The report ranks states on each indicator, and the sum of ranks produces a state's final score. Comparing the two lists reveals remarkable correlation's. Seven states rank in the top 15 for both economic and environmental health. Vermont, Rhode Island and Minnesota rank in the top six on both lists. Other top performing states include Maryland, Maine, Colorado and Wisconsin.

In contrast, states that perform poorly on economic indicators tended to rank near the bottom on environmental protection. Alabama ranked 49th on the environmental (Green) indicators and 47th on economic (Gold) indicator according to the study. Louisiana was the only state that topped Alabama on both the environmental and economic score. States listed in the cellar along with Alabama include Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana, Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky and South Carolina. To read the final Gold and Green 2000 rankings and state by state profiles, please visit

2. Sierra Club Releases Sprawl Report In Alabama

Want to learn more about urban sprawl and how to combat it? The Sierra Club released last week a report on sprawl, and compared Five Points South in Birmingham, Alabama (an example of good thoughtful planning) to the sprawling developments occurring in the Cahaba River watershed just outside Birmingham.The report called "Smart Choices or Sprawling Growth - A 50 State Survey of Development" can be found on the Sierra Club website at Along with the Sierra Club site, the report recommends organizational websites to visit such as to learn more about sprawl and how to control it.

3. Mobile Register Poll: Ozone Health Effects Concern Citizens

A recent poll on ozone air pollution conducted by the University of South Alabama Polling Group for the Mobile Register revealed a strong concern about ozone air pollution in Mobile and Baldwin counties. It also indicated the need for more ozone education in the region.

The poll was conducted between August 7-9, with a plus or minus 5% margin of error. Here are the results of some of the questions.

How concerned are you about the health effects of ground-level ozone on you and your family?

Very concerned - 35% , Somewhat concerned - 43% , Not very concerned - 14% , Not concerned at all - 7% , Didn't know/No answer - 1%

Would you say you know a lot, some, but not a lot, a little, or nothing at all about the effects of ground-level ozone?

A lot - 9% , Some - 30% , A little - 43% , Nothing at all -18%

Which statement is the most accurate statement?

A. Ground-level ozone is good, atmospheric ozone is bad - 6%
B. Atmospheric ozone is good, ground-level ozone is bad - 17%
C. All ozone is bad - 60%
D. Did not know/No answer - 17% (Correct answer - B)

Which one of the following produces the most ground-level ozone?

Air conditioner and refrigerator chemicals - 6% , Automobile exhaust - 31% , Chemical industries - 32% , Coal burning plants -10%, Large hog and cattle feedlots - 1%, Open burning of trash - 4% , Small engines such as lawn equipment -3%, DK/NA -13%(Answer: Power plants make up 55% of nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions in the Mobile area. Autos are second largest producer, while chemical plants play a very minor role in ozone production)

Would you pay a few cents more per gallon for cleaner burning gasoline to reduce ground-level ozone?

Yes - 64% , No - 32%, DK/NA - 4%

Would you be willing to pay a higher amount for electricity produced in a way that results in less ground-level ozone?

Yes - 60% , No - 36% , DK/NA - 4%

In response to the poll, and the need to answer questions about ground-level ozone for the general public, Mobile Register environmental editor Bill Finch wrote an informative and detailed question and answer article on the issue. You can read the article by visiting the Mobile Register website at:

4. New Mobile Register Poll: Government Not Focused Enough On Enviro Issues

Most coastal Alabama residents are concerned about the environment and feel politicians are not doing enough to protect it, according to a poll released Sunday April 4th in the Mobile Register.

The Mobile Register/University of South Alabama poll surveyed 404 adult residents of Mobile and Balwin counties. It was conducted March 27-29 and has a plus or minus 5% margin of error. Here are the results of the poll. (DK/NA means did not know or no answer)

Overall, how would you rate the quality of the environment here in the Mobile/Baldwin County area?
Excellent - 8% Good - 46% Only Fair - 36% Poor - 9% DK/NA - 9%

When it comes to environmental quality which, if any, is the most serious problem in our area?
Air Pollution - 33% Pollution of Mobile Bay - 24% Pollution of Streams and Rivers - 18% Pollution of Groundwater - 12% Pollution of the Gulf of Mexico - 5% None are Problems - 3% DK/NA - 5%

Do you think government officials give sufficient attention to the views of citizens like you on environmental issues?
Yes - 27% No - 62% DK/NA -11%

When it comes to protecting and preserving our natural environment, how much do you trust local politicians to do the right thing?
A lot - 5% Some - 40% A little - 34% Not at all - 18% DK/NA - 3%

When it comes to protecting and preserving our natural environment, how much do you trust the politicians in Montgomery to do the right thing?
A lot - 5% Some 37% A little 35% Not at all -19% DK/NA - 4%

When it comes to protecting and preserving our natural environment, how much do you trust the politicians in Washington D.C. to do the right thing?
A lot - 5% Some -35% A little -36% Not at all 21% DK/NA - 3%

In order to formulate appropriate environmental policies and regulations, politicians need reliable scientific information about the environment. How confident are you that the scientific community provides reliable information to politicians?
Very confident - 15% Somewhat confident - 56% Not very confident - 17% Not confident at all - 6% DK/NA - 6%

People who own property in coastal areas that are prone to hurricane and other storms cannot get flood insurance from private companies. Would you favor or oppose a government program to provide flood insurance to these people?
Favor - 72% Oppose - 21% Neither - 3% DK/NA - 4%

Do you favor or oppose establishment of a zone or greenbelt around your community where new homes and business could not be built on land that is currently undeveloped?
Favor - 54% Oppose - 30% Neither - 7% DK/NA - 9%

How concerned are you about over-fishing in the Gulf of Mexico?
Very concerned - 21% Somewhat concerned - 31% Not very concerned - 27% Not concerned at all - 17% DK/NA -4%

How concerned are you about the effects of pollution on the global climate?
Very concerned - 50% Somewhat concerned - 39% Not very concerned - 6% Not concerned at all - 4% DK/NA - 1%

Some people claim that pollution has already started to cause global warming. Do you agree or disagree?
Agree - 67% Disagree - 19% Neither - 6% DK/NA - 8%

5) BEN "Special" Legacy's Comprehensive Enviro Poll

On Thursday July 29, 1999 Legacy - Partners in Environmental Education and the Alabama Education Association (AEA) released one of the most
comprehensive polls ever done on "Alabama environmental attitudes". The poll was conducted by Capital Survey Research Center, a well respected polling firm out of Montgomery. The following data contains most of the results from this scientific poll that was taken June 2-3/ 7-10, 1999 of 433 Alabama adults. The poll has a plus or minus 4.5 % margin of error (we rounded off the numbers).

Overall, is the quality of the environment in Alabama

Getting better - 21%
Getting worse - 27%
Staying about the same - 50%
Don't Know/No Reply/other - 3%

On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best, rate the quality of your environment in the following areas?

Overall quality of the environment - 3.35
Drinking Water - 3.37
Air - 3.48
Lakes and rivers - 2.79
Forests and Wildlife areas - 3.51
Beaches - 2.83

Which of the following statements best describes how you feel about the environment?

Statement 1. I am concerned about the environment and I try to do things that protect the environment - 64%

Statement 2. I think the environment is fine and there are more important things than the environment such as industry and jobs. - 14%

Statement 3. I do not not enough about the environment to know how real the issues are such as acid rain, the ozone layer, and the greenhouse effect - 20%

Do you believe that environmental protection and economic can go together or do you believe that a choice must be made between them?

Can go together - 79%
Choice must be made - 19%

Which of the following statements best describes your position on the environment?

Statement 1. Protection of the environment should be given top priority even if it makes it more difficult for some businesses and industries and cost some jobs. - 68%

Statement 2. Development of businesses and industries and jobs should be given priority even if it makes it more difficult to keep a clean and safe environment. - 23%

*Here is how people who catagorize themselves as liberals, moderates and conservatives feel about the statements listed above (Don't know/No reply makes up the difference) .

Liberal - Statement 1 - 71% Statement 2 - 24%
Somewhat Liberal - Statement 1 - 77% Statement 2 -18%
Moderate - Statement 1 - 69% Statement 2 - 25%
Somewhat Conservative - Statement 1 - 74% Statement 2- 9%
Conservative - Statement 1 - 59% Statement 2 - 32%

At this time do you believe government regulates:

Too much - 15%
Too little - 52%
About right - 24%

Would you be willing to support limits on growth as a way of protecting the environment?

Yes - 68%, No - 16% , Don't Know/No Reply - 16%

Would you accept urban and regional planning as a way to protect the environment?

Yes - 85% , No -9% , Don't Know - 6%

Would you accept placing limits on the boundries of urban growth?

Yes - 67%, No -21%, Don't know - 13%

Would you accept creating green zones where development would be limited?

Yes - 81% , No -12%, Don't know- 8%

How much knowledge do you believe you have about environmental issues and problems?

A lot - 16% , Some - 59%, Little or none - 24%

Do you believe there is a need for more information and education about the environment?

Yes, need more information - 92%
No, do not need more information - 6%
DK/NR/O - 2%

What do you believe is the major environmental problem in Alabama?

Air pollution - 20% , Water pollution - 19% Garbage and garbage disposal -
23%, Litter -23% , Protecting natural, forest and wildlife areas - 7%

Alabama Department of Environmental Management or ADEM - What is your opinion of ADEM?

Do not recognize - 22% , Very Favorable - 4% , Favorable -46%, Unfavorable -
7% , Very Unfavorable - 2% , Don't know - 20%

What is your opinion of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources?

Do not recognize - 24% , Very favorable -10% , Favorable - 49%, Unfavorable
- 4% , Dont Know - 13%

Makeup of the poll - Liberal - 15% , Somwhat Liberal 10%, Moderate -27%,
Somewhat Conservative - 15%, Conservative -26%, Don't know - 7%

Educational level - Less than High School - 10%, High School Graduate - 47%,
College Graduate -24%, Graduate or Professional Degree - 17%, Don't know 2%

Age groups - 18 to 24 - 11.5%, 25 to 34 - 21%, 35 to 50 - 35%, 51 to 64 -
20%, 65 or Older - 12%

This poll sends a strong and clear message that Alabamians want more environmental education and stronger environmental laws. It is also clear
that Alabama's political leadership is out of step with the public on the environment, especially considering the Alabama Congressional delegation's
low scores on the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Scorecard and the lack of support for the environment on the state level. For more information about this poll, please contact Legacy at 1-334-270-5921.


6) Poll: LWCF Support Very Strong

According to an Americans For Our Heritage and Recreation (AHR) poll conducted by noted Conservative pollster Frank Luntz (he developed the
Contract With America), Americans are clamoring for their elected officials in Washington to address their "Quality of Life" needs by protecting land , water and open spaces via funding mechanisms such as the Land Water and Conservation Fund (LWCF). Among some of the poll's key findings:

* 88% of Americans are concerned that many of the country's special places may be lost unless action is taken now to protect them.

** 89% of Americans support using a conservation trust fund, such as the LWCF, to protect wildlife habitat for native plants and animals.

*** Support for the concept of a "true" trust fund for conservation of land, water and open spaces beats highway and airport trust funds head to head (45% to 37% to 7% respectively).

**** The educational/social link to parks, recreation and conservation programs is strong. For example, 9 out of 10 Americans think they provide "a place for children to learn new skills and values like teamwork and respect for nature." Three out of four think they "help prevent juvenile crime and delinquency", and 85% think "parks and open spaces contribute to property values and economic stability of neighborhoods". Women , parents of children under 18, and minorities are even more likely to hold these views.

LWCF was created by Congress in 1964 for the acquisition of public lands to meet the outdoor recreation and open space needs for all Americans. Funding for the LWCF comes from revenues from offshore oil and gas receipts (much like Forever Wild). The LWCF is authorized to receive $900 million each year. However , since its inception, Congress has diverted a significant percentage of the fund (this year nearly 75% of the fund was "raided") for purposes other than conservation and recreation. Despite the raid on the trust fund, over the years more than 700 parks and recreational areas have been developed in Alabama through LWCF support, and special places such as the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and Little River Canyon National Preserve were created because of LWCF.

For more information about LWCF and what you can do, please contact Americans for Our Heritage Southeast Organizer Pat Byington at 226-7739 or e-mail

7) Poll: Sturgeon Listing and ESA Strongly Supported

According to a Mobile Register/University of South Alabama poll released last Sunday (July11, 1999) there is signficant public support for the federal listing of the Alabama Sturgeon and for the Endangered Species Act. The scientific poll was conducted between June 28-July 1. Here are the questions and results of the poll.

Do you think the government currently provides too much, too little, or about the right amount of protection for endangered species?

Too Much - 20% , About the right amount - 35% , Too little - 35% , Don't
know/no answer - 10%

The Alabama Sturgeon is an extremely rare fish that once was common in Alabama rivers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to put it on the endangered species list with th hope of restoring a healthy sturgeon population in the state. Would you approve or disapprove of putting the Alabama Sturgeon on the endangered species list?

Approve - 63% , Neither - 6% , Disapprove - 17% , DK/NA -14%

Which of the following reasons you disapprove of putting the sturgeon on the endangered species list? (Some who answered gave more than one reason)

Would interfere with commercial operations - 41%
Too many species on the list already - 41%
Would have a negative impact on Alabama economy - 36%
Would interfere with recreational activities - 24%
Endangered Species Act should be abolished - 24%
DK/NA - 17%

8) Ozone Poll Produces Surprising Results

Mobile area residents are concerned about the health effects of ground level ozone air pollution but know very little about it, according to a new Mobile Register - University of South Alabama poll that was released Sunday May 9. Here are some of the poll questions and their results:

Question: How concerned are you about the health effects of ground-level ozone in you and your family?

Very Concerned - 30% Somewhat Concerned - 46% Not Very Concerned -14% Not Concerned At All - 7% DK/NA - 3%

Would you be willing to pay a few cents more per gallon for cleaner burning fuel (to reduce gound-level ozone)?

Yes - 76% No- 22%

Would you be willing to pay a higher amount for electricity produced in a way that results in less ground-level ozone?

Yes - 59% No - 33%

Under which conditions are we most likely to have the highest concentrations of ground-level ozone?

Cold, cloudy days in winter -13% Clear sunny days in summer -18% Warm nights with high humidity - 53% Don't Know - 16% (The answer is Clear sunny days in summer)

Mobile and Baldwin counties are in danger of being designated as "non-attainment" areas according to environmental and health standards set by
the EPA. A local ozone awareness task force called GLORI or the Ground Level Ozone Reductions Initiative for the Mobile-Baldwin County area has been created to educate people about ground-level ozone pollution and push voluntary measures during the summer.

9) Sierra Club Study: Alabama Not Addressing Sprawl

Alabama lags far behind neighboring states in planning for land-use and transportation according to a new report issued by the Sierra Club on

Urban Sprawl is quickly becoming a major environmental issue throughout Alabama as statistics show the rapid conversion of forests and farmland into built up areas. Sprawl is associated with loss of habitat, increased air and water pollution and the decline of urban centers. For example, in a report earlier this year by the Mobile Register, Mobile County's rural to urban land conversion has outpaced population by a margin of four to one since 1975. While the county's population grew by 25% from 320,000 to 400,000 in two decades the amount of urbanized land in the county has grown from 82,000 acres to more than 170,000 acres.

Here is how Alabama ranked and fared with our neighbors in the Sierra Club national report.

Land Use Planning - Georgia - 4th, Tennessee -6th, Florida -11th, Mississippi - 31st, Alabama - 42nd

Transportation Planning - Georgia - 24th, Florida - 29th, Tennessee - 46th, Alabama -47th , Mississippi - 49th

Open Space Protection - Florida -14th, Georgia - 25th, Tennessee - 34th, Mississippi - 36th, Alabama - 37th

Community Revitalization - Georgia - 6th, Florida - 13th, Mississippi-14th, Alabama-22nd, Tennessee 39th.

For complete details about the Sierra Club Sprawl report, please visit their national website at

10) How does Alabama Compare Regionally In "Number" of Endangered Species?

What is Alabama's ranking in the Southeast on the number of threatened and endangered species listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? The answer: Alabama ranks second behind Florida. See how Alabama compares with our neighbors:

Number of Threatened and Endangered Species

1) Florida - 100 2) Alabama - 96 3) Tennessee - 88 4) Georgia - 55 5)
North Carolina - 49 6) Kentucky - 42 7) Mississippi - 33 8) South
Carolina - 30 9) Louisiana - 21

11) State of Alabama's Beaches... Nature Lost

This Labor Day weekend (Sept 1999), I was reading "State of the Beaches of Alabama - 1998" which was produced by Drs. Scott Douglass, Bradley Pickels and Brian Greathouse at the University of South Alabama's Department of Civil Engineering. If you care about Alabama's beaches, this report is a remarkable and provocative document, which I highly recommend people to read. You can access the document at:

I wanted to share one figure from the report that is quite stunning. According to the report the percentage of Gulf front lots containing Condos
and Hotels has risen from 3% in 1970 to 22% in 1996. The unabated march toward developing all our beaches does not stop there. As you can see in the following lists, the percentage of single homes has also increased dramatically. Check out the change that has occurred in the last 30 years.

In 1970
72% of Alabama Gulf front lots were undeveloped
25% - Single House lots
3% - Condos/Hotels

In 1983
57% - Undeveloped
33% - Single House
10% - Condo/Hotels

In 1996
39% - Undeveloped
39% - Single Lot
22% - Hotel/Condo

Nature lost...? Within a generation we have seen much of Alabama's wild and natural coastline be turned into a sterile concrete jungle. The rush is
truly "on" for the last 39%. Just ask groups such as the Nature Conservancy of Alabama. who want to buy and preserve these lands. According to TNC and residents on the coast, the costs of these few remaining areas are skyrocketing. That is because they are quickly becoming precious and rare. -PB

12) Jefferson County Ozone Action Poll/Survey Released in July 1999, in the middle of the "ozone season", New South Research conducted telephone surveys on behalf of the Jefferson County Department of Health. The purpose of the poll was to quantify awareness and actions related to the ground level ozone pollution problem in the Birmingham Metro area. New South interviewed 250 residents of Jefferson and North Shelby counties. The poll has a 95% confidence level. Here are some of the surprising findings.

Respondents were asked, without aid from the interviewer, to name environmental concerns facing the Birmingham area. The environmental concern first mentioned was: Air Pollution (61% of the respondents), Ozone Problems (18%) and Water Pollution (5%)

In all the problems mentioned by the respondents ñ Air Pollution (68%), Ozone Problems (29%) and Water Pollution (27%)

When all 250 of the respondents were asked how concerned they were about the ground-level ozone issue facing the Birmingham Metro area:

44% said they were somewhat concerned
43% said they were very concerned
13% said they were either somewhat or very unconcerned

The respondents were asked if, during the summer, they had seen any forecast of the ground-level ozone concentrations in the community. 71% said they had seen a forecast.

Among those who had seen a forecast, 62% said that they had made changes in their daily routine as a result of a red forecast.

13) Zogby Poll: Republicans Prefer Green GOP Candidates - Thought the following information might interest BEN readers.

This past week I received the Fall 1999 copy of the "Green Elephant" the newsletter of REP America or Republicans for Environmental Protection. In their "Eye on Washington" section, REP reported about a recent Zogby poll on the environment. Here is an excerpt from that article.

"Late in the summer came still more evidence that GOP voters are just like others when it comes to wanting strong governmental efforts to protect the environment.

Zogby International interviewed 1,000 likely GOP primary voters in Iowa, California, New Hampshire, New York and South Carolina. The focus was on two imaginary candidates whose positions on traditional GOP issues like tax cuts were identical. The only difference between them was that "A is a strong supporter of government involvement on behalf of the environment" and "B opposes government involvement on behalf of the environment."

According to Zogby International, the likely GOP primary voter backed Candidate A over Candidate B by 64% to 29%. Other results are equally telling:

* Half the GOP voters identified themselves as "environmentalists."

** The GOP voters ranked the environment equally important as family values and more important than cutting taxes or restricting abortion."

For more information about REP America, visit their website at:

14) Mobile Register Polls Alabamians On National Energy Policy - According to a poll conducted by the University of South Alabama Polling Group for the Mobile Register, Alabamians favor nuclear power, but not in their communities, conservation over increased energ production, and by a slight margin drilling for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. The poll, which was conducted in mid May, has a 5% plus or minus margin of error. The telephone survey interviewed 416 Alabama adult residents. Here are some of the results of the poll which was released in the May 20th edition of the Sunday Mobile Register.

In order to meet future energy needs, would you approve or disapprove of building more nuclear plants in the U.S.? 55% Approve, 35% Disapprove, 10% Don't Know/No Answer

Would you approve or disapprove of the construction of a nuclear plant within 10 miles of your home? 27% Approve, 70% Disapprove, 3% DK/NA

Do you think radioactive wastes from nuclear power plants can be safely stored for hundreds of years or not? 26% Yes, 50% No, 24% DK/NA

Would you approve or disapprove of building a radioactive waste storage facility within 10 miles of your home? 15% Approve, 82% Disapprove, 3% DK/NA

In addition to nuclear power, some are proposing greater energy production from oil, natural gas and coal. Others say that increasing production from these sources will hurt the environment and that more emphasis should be placed on conservation. Which do you think is the best way to address the country's energy needs, increased production or conservation? 36% Increase Production, 44% Conservation, 12% Both, 8% DK/NA

Would you approve or disapprove of drilling for oil and natural gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? 49% Approve, 43% Disapprove, 8% DK/NA

15. Mobile Area Cited for High Lead Poisoning Rates - A recent study released by the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, shows that 11% of Mobil children tested for lead under age 5 have dangerously high levels of lead in their blood. Lead has been shown to cause irreversible brain damage, lowered intelligence and hyperactivity. Children under age 2 are most vulnerable and the damage can last a lifetime Last fall, the Mobile Register reported that since 1990, 818 children in Mobile and its suburbs were shown to have elevated levels of lead from tests
conducted by the Health Department. According to the study only 3% of Mobile's children under age 5 are tested for lead poisoning. More may be screened but the results are not reported to authorities.

16. Clean Air "Top Concern" According to Poll - According to a October 2000, New South Research Poll presented to the Jefferson County Health Department, nearly half (49%) of the participants polled identified air pollution as the main environmental concern for the Birmingham area. Water pollution ranked second in the poll pulling in 22% of the people surveyed.

Other findings from the New South Research poll: * Over the past 5 surveys, total preference toward tougher air quality laws has steadily increased from 77% in 1997 to 89% in 2000.

* 86% of respondents rated air quality in the Birmingham area as either "fair or "poor." This negative perception of air quality has increased 24 percentage points since 1997's 62%.

* Overall, 48% rated public transportation as "poor." Only 12% rated it as "good" and no one - 0% rated it as "very good."

The New South Research poll on "Ozone Attitude and Awareness Survey" has seen a steady increase in environmental/air pollution awareness over the 5 surveys spanning 4 years worth of data.

17. Alabama Counties Receive "F" From Lung Association Ozone Report - This week, the American Lung Association released its annual "State of the Air 2001" report that ranks US cities and counties for ozone air pollution. In Alabama, ten counties were eligible for the study. According to the report 7 of the 10 counties received a failing grade of "F" for ozone pollution. The counties receiving the "F" include:

Shelby, Jefferson, Madison, Clay, Montgomery, Mobile and Lawrence

This year, the study identified Shelby County as the region most adversely impacted by ground-level ozone air pollution statewide, surpassing Jefferson County. For more information on the "State of the Air 2001" report, contact Pam Lewis of the American Lung Association of Alabama at 205-933-8821.

18) Study: Alabama Littered With 20 Million Scrap Tires - Documenting the need for a comprehensive scrap tire cleanup law, the 12 member Alabama Scrap Tire Study Commission reported last week, that there are an estimated 20 million
tires in 850 illegal dumps around the state that pose health and safety concerns. The commission based its findings on information provided by county health departments and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

Illegally dumped scrap tires pose significant environmental, health and safety problems. In the past 36 months, there have been 145 scrap tire fires reported in the state. Standing water inside abandoned tires can become a
breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry diseases such as encephalitis, denque fever and the West Nile virus.

State Rep. Mac Gipson of Prattville, who is a tire dealer, introduced legislation recommended by the tire study commission imposing a $1 per tire
"environmental fee" on new tires to pay for a program to cleanup and reduce scrap tires in the state.

"We are the last state in the South to deal with this issue." stated Rep. Gipson.


19) USA Today Features Sprawl: Check Out How Alabama Cities Rank - Last week, USA Today tackled the issue of "urban sprawl" with a front page story titled "Wide Open Spaces." Along with numerous stories about sprawl and its impacts on the natural environment, USA Today published an "Index of Sprawling Metros by State." The following are the "ranking" and scores of Alabama cities.

For cities with populations between 250,000 to one million - Mobile ranked 11th (433 index score), Huntsville ranked 20th (381), Birmingharanked 41st (323), Montgomery ranked 42nd (322)

Scores of other Alabama cities - Anniston - 320, Dothan - 255, Decatur - 252, Florence - 220, Gadsden - 170, Auburn-Opelika - 157, Tuscaloosa - 129.

For more information about the index and access to the "Wide Open Spaces" series of articles, visit the USA Today website at

20) American Lung Association's State of the Air 2000 Statistics - The America Lung Association has released their "State of the Air 2000" report, which calculates the number of "at risk" populations that are vulnerable to high levels of ground-level ozone pollution. These "at-risk" populations include children under 14 years old, seniors over 65, children with pediatric asthma, and citizens with adult asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

According to the study, between 1996 to 1998, there were 71 orange and red alert days (or high ozone days that are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups) in Jefferson and Shelby counties. In the two counties alone, the air quality was considered unhealthy for more than 356,823 people who belong to one of the sensitive groups. In Madison County there were 20 unhealthy days potentially adversely impacting more than 119,000 people. Mobile County had14 unhealthy days within the three year period effecting 183,000 people from "at-risk" groups.

During ozone season (May to Oct), the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and local health departments issue warnings about possible "unhealthy" air quality days (You can visit ADEM's ozone website on a daily basis to receive this info at: ).

For more information about ground-level ozone air pollution and lung disease visit the American Lung Association's website at:

21) Decade-long Study Claims One Million Acres of New Forests In Alabama -
Alabama's forest lands grew by 1 million acres between 1990 and 2000 according to the latest Forest Inventory Analysis conducted by the U.S. Forest Service and the Alabama Forestry Commission.

Alabama now contains 22.9 million acres of forestland, covering 71% of the state. According to the study, urbanization and agriculture are the two primary causes of forestland loss within the state. In the past ten years nearly 500,000 acres of forests were converted to urban use, while 225,000 acres were converted to agriculture use. The losses were offset by the conversion of 1.7 million acres of other lands to forests. Most of the newly wooded land is in pine plantations, according to forest advocates. The report showed that between 1990 and 2000, planted stands of trees increased to 24 % of Alabama's forests, up 6%.The entire forest study can be downloaded online at

22) Alabama Delegation Grades Poorly On LCV Environmental Scorecard -
Alabama's congressional environmental voting scorecard is ranked among the lowest in the country, according to a League of Conservation Voters (LCV) report released this week.

The 2001 National Environmental Scorecard is a compilation of environmental votes our congressional delegation took during the first session of the 107th Congress. Twenty-three national environmental and conservation organizations selected the votes on which the congressmen were graded. Some of the vote descriptions were based on issues such as drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and public lands, spending on environmental programs, and fuel economy standards. Here are the Alabama delegation LCV scores:

Senator Richard Shelby - 0%, Senator Jeff Sessions - 0%, Rep. Sonny Aderholdt - 7%, Rep. Spencer Bachus - 7%, Rep. Sonny Callahan - 0%, Rep. Bud Cramer - 29%, Rep. Terry Everett - 0, Rep. Earl Hilliard - 64%, Rep. Bob Riley - 0%.

According to the Anniston Star, in response to the scorecard, Sen. Sessions defended his record citing his sponsorship of the Dugger Mountain Wilderness and the newly created Cahaba River Wildlife Refuge. Several congressmen complained that the scorecard did not include many other local environmental projects and accomplishments.

To access the LCV National Environmental Scorecard, visit their website at

23. Ozone Season Opens: Group Releases Survey Results -
May 1st was the opening day of Alabama's ground-level Ozone Season. For the next 5 months, Alabamians will be encouraged and asked to "do our share for clean air." - But is the message getting through?

According to a survey of Birmingham area residents conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham regarding ground-level ozone, people are more aware of ground-level ozone forecasts. For example, 73% of the respondents in mid-ozone season 2001 were aware of "ozone forecasts" compared to 55% in 2000. In 2001, 90% of the respondents could identify the color-coded air quality indicators. This was an increase from 77% in 2000.

Despite these gains, residents surveyed did not always respond daily to the voluntary actions people can take to reduce ozone. For example, almost 90% of the respondents did not carpool to work, only 2% reported using mass transit, at home the average summer thermostat was set on 75 degrees (78 is recommended during ozone season), and respondents continued to use drive through windows despite ozone alert days.

This year, Alabama Partners for Clean Air (APCA), a coalition of business, governmental, health and environmental organizations is concentrating on turning awareness into action. To learn more about what you can do voluntarily during ozone season visit APCA's website at

24. Alabama Tops Biodiversity List -
When you think of biodiversity in the United States - the states Hawaii, California, Oregon or perhaps Florida come to mind. Add Alabama to the list.

According to a study released this week by the biologists at NatureServe, who compiled data from all 50 state Natural Heritage programs, Alabama ranks 5th in the nation for biological diversity. Unfortunately, Alabama ranked 1st in the continental United States for extinctions of plant and animal species. In another category, Alabama ranked fourth in the nation for risk to its native species, with 15 percent of its species in danger of extinction.

Scientists believe the single largest extinction event in modern North American history occurred when the Coosa River was dammed and its many fish, snail and mussel species were drowned, stranded and unable to reproduce.

To read the NatureServe report, visit their website at

25. Mobile Register: Poll Conducted on Environment and Black Bears - By nearly a two to one margin, Alabamians would approve of privately funded efforts to increase the state's black bear population, according to a new Mobile Register-Unviversity of South Alabama survey.

Black bears have been found in North Mobile and Washington counties. They number no more than 50 and are threatened by inbreeding, poaching, road kills and habitat loss.

The poll was conducted April 8-11. It was a telephone survey of 417 adult Alabama residents. It has a margin of error plus or minus 5%. Here are some of the results.

When it comes to environmental conditions in Alabama, which would you say is of most concern: declining water quality; declining air quality; or the decline of animal species due to loss of habitat? Water Quality - 52%, Air Quality - 25%, Animal Species - 17%. Don't know/No Answer - 6%

Generally speaking, do you approve or disapprove of private efforts to protect endangered species of animals? Approve - 75%, Disapprove - 16%, DK/NA - 9%

Generally speaking, do you approve or disapprove of using tax dollars to protect endangered animals? Approve - 57%, Disapprove - 36%, DK/NA - 7%

In recent years, the number of black bears in Alabama has declined to approximately 50. Would you approve or disapprove of privately funded efforts to bring in mother bears and cubs from other states to increase the population of black bears in Alabama? Approve - 61%, Disapprove - 32%, Neither/DK/NA - 7%.

To learn more about statewide efforts to protect black bears in Alabama, visit the Alabama Black Bear Alliance website at

26. Alabama Ranked 2nd in Drinking Water Quality - Here is some encouraging news. The EPA has ranked Alabama second in the nation for water system compliance. The EPA report includes 2001 inventory data and violations data for community water supply systems that are regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. A community water supply system supplies drinking water on a daily basis to people who live in a certain area and includes cities, towns, rural water supply systems and trailer parks.

The recent EPA report outlined the fact that on a national level 4,813, or 9% of the nation's 53,783 community water supply systems reported 7,724 violations of either maximum contaminant levels or treatment techniques. Some individual states reported that more than 30% of their community water supply systems documented violations.

In Alabama, only 23 of the state's 583 community water systems or 3% reported a total of 24 violations of either maximum contaminant levels or treatment techniques. Alabama came in second to Rhode Island (a much smaller system) for the least number of violations. For more information on Alabama public water supply systems, contact Joe Power, Drinking Water Branch Chief at ADEM (334) 271-7774.


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