Fox 6 WBRC reports that last month, the city council’s planning commision are reviewing recommendations from a subcommittee regarding regulations of AST units that could store oil. Planning committee attorney Douglas Anderson says that there are no pending applications for building an AST unit as far as he knows, but that it is still important to create regulations for when applications do start rolling in.
The recommendations from the subcommittee consist of hundreds of pages of proposed rules, stipulations, articles, and thorough information on AST units. The recommendations were developed after the storage company American Tank and Vessel offered to build a petroleum storage facility in Africatown in 2013. Africatown is just three miles north of downtown Mobile, causing some residents to feel concerned. The company later withdrew its proposal after it had gained controversy.
However, Anderson believes the proposal was a good thing and at the very least nothing to be afraid of.
“Nobody is trying to come in and do anything to expand the industrial area in our port or to infringe on Africatown,” Anderson said.
Some community members welcome the proposal, but feel the planning commission and the proposed regulations are unnecessary, especially considering AST units have already been heavily legislated by the state and federal government.
“I don’t think the full planning commission understands the laws at this point,” said Steve Gordon, President of Keep Mobile Growing and the general manager of fuel supplier company Radcliff Economy.
Other residents, however, are opposed to the tanks due to fear of negative health effects the tanks could bring. Dr. Wladimir Wertelecki, for example, is concerned the tanks could cause various diseases.
“Lung disease, cancer, leukemia,” Dr. Wertelecki said.
Regardless, the recommendations intend to clarify any potential inconsistencies regarding the maintenance and regulation of AST units, including the definition of the hazardous materials and ingredients the AST may hold. They also hope to be consistent with state and federal laws already in place, such as tanks greater than 1,100 in capacity must feature corrosion protection on the floors.