Environment and Conservation
Kay's Answer: Despite what the mainstream media may tell you, Alabama and the rest of the nation have made tremendous progress in cleaning up our environment.
According to the Envirnomental Protection Agency (EPA), Alabama's air is much cleaner than it was 30 years ago.
So is our water: According to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), 97 percent of our rivers and streams are clean, as are 84 percent of our lakes.
Alabama is also blessed to have some of the largest areas of forest in the nation. In fact, we have more square miles of forest than any other state in the country, except for Georgia and Alaska. And most of this land--almost 75 percent of it--is owned by private, non-industrial owners who use it for camping and hunting.
Surprisingly, most of the progress Alabama has made in being a cleaner state came way before the federal government decided it was a problem.
Rather than rely on a slow-moving state or federal bureaucracy to tell us when our air, water, or land is in trouble, we need to encourage public-private partnerships that would reward responsible landowners for keeping their land pristine. Tax credits for landowners who replant trees when they are cut would be a good start.
The Benefit To You: When private landowners and public officials work together to create incentives for conservation, the environment wins.