On Wednesday, February 23rd, Governor Robert Bently issued Executive Order No. 8, which immediately imposes the moratorium "on the issuance by the Department of Environmental Management of any new or modified permits or the transfer of any existing permits for solid waste management facilities." In such, he declares that ADEM adopt and promulgate new rules, with input from the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee, which the Alabama Environmental Council is a representative. These new rules should "take into account the effect, both immediate and long-term, of such facility with respect to not only the adjacent community or region, but other regions of the State of Alabama and the State of Alabama as a whole."

"Landfills have become another example of how Alabamians suffer environmental degradation and public health risk while others outside our state enjoy the cheap benefits of exporting their pollution," said Michael Churchman, Executive Director. "More than half the waste going into Alabama landfills comes from outside the state and the Governor should be applauded by citizens of Alabama for being aware of this injustice." A majority of landfills are sited in or near communities affected by poverty or minority communities and policies and permitting should be reviewed. This has lead our state to become the dumping grounds of the South, even the country, with many landfills permitted to accept waste from more than half of America. As a past Congressman has said, "landfills are another indicator of how our rural and disadvantaged communities have had to depend on unsustainable practices for economic survival and we can find other ways to prosper."

In 1991, Alabama set a goal through legislation to decrease waste by 25%, but since then our waste has increased by 58%! This is unacceptable, especially when we are throwing away valuable resources, that will become threats to our public health in the future. A large portion of these materials also have value in recycling markets and should be kept from becoming such a huge problem.

Issues ADEM must consider in the new rule are: a) Infrastructure, including, but not limited to, roads and bridges; b) Public services; c) Reputation; d) Public perception, including, but not limited to, the perception by those living outside of the region and out-of-state; e) Environment, including, but not limited to, air and water quality; f) Health; g) Safety; h) Recreation; i) Natural resources; j) Economic Development; k) Public convenience (or inconvenience); and l)   Such other and further matters as the Department of Environmental Management, the Department of Public Health and the Solid Waste Advisory Committee believe to be in the best interest of the citizens of the immediately impacted area, the region in which the facility will be located, neighboring regions and the entire State of Alabama.

The order also establishes that if a solid waste management facility is approved by a local approving authority and ADEM, then, the facility must also be approved by the Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee, which shall insure that the facility is compliant  with the regulations and requirements promulgated as a result of this Executive Order, that the facility is consistent with local and regional solid waste management plans and that the facility should otherwise be allowed after the Committee’s independent review of the matters outlined above.