JobKeeper Alliance issued the following press release on October 9, 2013:
Birmingham, Ala.– JobKeeper Alliance, a job-focused nonprofit organization, is concerned the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) will try to use the federal lawsuit the firm filed more than 30 months ago to block the start of construction on the Northern Beltline, which is currently slated to begin in early 2014.
Last week, Governor Robert Bentley announced that ALDOT has been issued the final permit needed to begin work on the first segment of the 52 mile Northern Beltline. He also expressed his confidence that the new highway will not threaten the environment. “We’re committed to building the Northern Beltline in the most environmentally responsible way possible,” Bentley said.
In 2011, SELC filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Black Warrior Riverkeeper claiming ALDOT inadequately assessed the potential environmental impact of the proposed highway.
However, for the last two years SELC has used economic concerns to fight against the Northern Beltline, saying very little about the ongoing environmental lawsuit.
JobKeeper Alliance, a vocal supporter of the job-creating highway project, believes SELC filed the lawsuit to delay the project while the law firm and Black Warrior Riverkeeper attempted to erode public support for the Northern Beltline through an aggressive PR campaign focusing on the cost of the project.
“The fact that this project is supported by the vast majority of elected officials, including Governor Bentley, is a clear sign that the public has rejected SELC’s claims” said Patrick Cagle, Executive Director of JobKeeper Alliance. “Our concern is that SELC will now try to use the federal court system to accomplish their goal of killing the Northern Beltline; disregarding the will of our state’s leaders.”
Jobkeeper Alliance says it is highly likely that SELC will attempt to use their lawsuit to block the start of construction on the Northern Beltline, which is currently scheduled to begin in early 2014. The Alliance says it would be wrong for the environmental law firm to block the more than 1,300 initial jobs that will be created when construction starts on the highway project.
JobKeeper Alliance is a 501c(4) alliance formed between the business community and labor. This partnership is cemented by the two group’s mutual interest in protecting jobs and working to create new jobs. For more information, visit www.jobkeeperalliance.org