Riverkeeper Demands More Fines Be Imposed on Alabama Power for Fish Kill
In a fish kill that was caused by a chemical spill from an Alabama Power facility, the Black Warrior Riverkeeper has demanded that heavier fines be imposed on the power company.
The spill took place last March when a fire suppressant chemical accidentally drained into the river. The accident took place due to a malfunction with the spill control mechanism of the Plant Gorgas facility of Alabama Power. Located in Walker County, the spill caused the chemical to drain into a tributary of the Black Warrior River. The result was hundreds of dead fish in the river.
The present demand from the Black Warrior Riverkeeper comes after it was found that Alabama Power removed a number of fish from the site of the accident. This was done before the environmental regulation agencies reached the site to assess the damage.
Later reports from a whistleblower revealed that company employees did in fact actively destroy evidence of dead fish in the water. Ultimately, the regulation officers found around 508 dead fish in the water, nearly six days after the spill. The riverkeeper, Nelson Brooke, believes that many more hundred were destroyed during this delay in the investigation.
The exact figures are important because the fines imposed on the company are based upon this figure. In a previous proposed settlement, Alabama Power had agreed to pay $172,045 to the conservation department of Alabama in order to restock the river.
Brooke believes that since a large number of fish weren’t included in the damage assessment and were destroyed by Alabama Power, an additional $75,000 fine should be imposed on the company. He has proposed this in lieu of illegal destruction of fish and failure to report the fish kill in time. Brooke has proposed this in a letter addressed to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.