Rep. Tommy Hanes says he’s drafting a new bill on the usage, transportation of biosolids from out-of-state

Northeast Alabama

Tractor with liquid manure on the field.

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. – Officials are still fighting to get the use of biosolids on an election ballot. In hopes of cleaning up the mess, State Representative Tommy Hanes, R- Scottsboro, proposed a bill that would let the voters decide, but the plan didn’t pan out how he expected.

Its been a back and forth battle amongst people in Jackson County and around the state regarding the use of biosolids or treated sewer sludge.

While farmers find the cheap fertilizer useful, others don’t want the human waste dumped in the area. “Well, my goal was to give the people of Jackson County the opportunity to vote on the issue. You know after receiving numerous complaints and phone calls, I decided that it was a big enough issue that it should go to a vote,” said Rep. Hanes.

Using the format of surrounding counties, Rep. Hanes drafted a bill he hoped would be passed in this year’s session, with the bill going on this year’s ballot. “The bill passed through the House, got it through the House. It went to a Senate committee meeting. We got it out of the Senate committee meeting.”

Then that’s when the bill took an unexpected turn. “Somewhere along the lines right here towards the end of the session, the bill got moved.”

The bill never made it to the Senate floor for a vote, but the fight won’t end. “Now what I’m working on at this current time is legislation that will be a state-wide bill.”

Representative Hanes said his new goal is for the state to vote on the usage of the biosolids and if other states are able to transport their waste to Alabama. He says this new bill will be drafted for legislative session next year. If it passes through, it would two years before the bill would be placed on the ballot.

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