Judge blocks Alabama from ending Planned Parenthood funding, Sipsey fire update

Oct 28, 2015

A federal judge has shut down the state of Alabama’s effort to cut off Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a ruling today ordering the state to restore all funding to Planned Parenthood Southeast. He says the state had no legal reason to cancel the Medicaid payments in the first place.
Susan Watson is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama. She says the governor’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood back in August was unexpected.
“I was surprised that Governor Bentley took that action, because it’s a violation of federal law. The state of Alabama can’t target abortion providers for unfair treatment.”
Bentley says he was terminating Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood because of hidden camera videos purporting to show the organization selling fetal tissue for profit. Planned Parenthood has repeatedly denied those accusations and says the videos are misleading.

Officials say rain has extinguished much of the wildfire that was burning in the Sipsey Wilderness of northwest Alabama.

The so-called Big Tree wildfire burned about 2,000 acres of forest before storms moved into the area.

The precipitation has greatly improved conditions, and the U.S. Forest Service says fire crews are returning to normal duty and trails are reopening to visitors.

A crew from Virginia is still in the area monitoring the fire line in case conditions worsen.

Conservation groups are firing back after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s approved a permit for a new mine on the Black Warrior River. A-P-R student reporter Kendall Worman has more….

Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Defenders of Wildlife filed a lawsuit in federal court in Birmingham yesterday.

The groups say the Corps of Engineers failed to consider the auditory impact of new mines on the Black Warrior River. They say the impact on endangered wildlife and water quality was not properly considered when approving the permit.

The Corps of Engineers granted the permit last year to Global Met Coal Corporation for Black Creek Mine. The Black Warrior River braids through coal-rich areas of the state.