Coastal Shoreline Restoration Bill Passes Senate Committee
March 27, 2018
A bill related to shoreline restoration on the coast and inner-coastal waterways passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry on Tuesday, March 20th. Sponsored by Senator Greg Albritton (R-Bay Minette), SB 395 allows shoreline owners to use sand or sediment dredged in the waters adjacent to their property for living shoreline projects without paying a permit fee or charge. Living shoreline projects are those that seek to stabilize a shoreline but allow natural coastal processes to continue. Instead of using a sea wall, living shoreline projects use native vegetation, wave attenuation structures, or fill material like dredged sand or sediment.
While SB 395 passed the committee with little discussion, the Senate committee did adopt a substitute to align the bill with the House version of the bill, HB 370, sponsored by Representative Randy Davis (R-Daphne). In the original bill, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources had sole jurisdiction over the permit process for property owners seeking to dredge material for a living shoreline project. The substitute adds the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to the permit review process and prohibits the charging of a fee for the review process, subject to the availability of federal funds. SB 395 and HB 370 only apply to coastal waterways south of Mobile River mile 0.0.
Both SB 395 and HB 370 await passage in each bills’ respective house.