Environmental justice advocate speaks out about ALDOT’s ongoing assesment in flooding prone community

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ELBA, Ala. (WDHN) — The Alabama Department of Transportation made a sudden visit to the Shiloh community this week to conduct an assessment regarding stormwater runoff from Highway 84 — its been happening for six years and counting.

Doctor Robert Bullard, known as the father of environmental justice and has been working with the community to get them help, thought the state showing up now was ironic — just before the 30-day report he requested on behalf of the community about the federal visit in April.

“I think the residents are still concerned that there will be some solutions arrived at,” Dr. Bullard said.

ALDOT and an independent engineering firm AECOM say they were continuing their work from last fall, this week they were in the community walking the grounds and measuring the pipes and ditches.

“I think this was a first step and at least acknowledging that there is a problem,” He said.

ALDOT has not formally admitted that the expansion of the highway is causing flooding which the residents blame but is working toward solutions — that they hope to present soon.

But Dr. Bullard said solutions other than mitigating flooding should be taken into consideration.

“What about the loss and damage of the residents and homeowners, foundation cracking, sewer system flowing into homes, and driveways cracking,” He added.

So far, the state has offered residents options to either let them implement a project to retain the water or sell their properties to them. ALDOT bought the flooding-prone property of a daycare owned by a white family down the road for $165,000.

Dr. Bullard says that solution should be the last option for Shiloh residents.

“These people love their communities there are solutions out there short of selling properties,” He said.

Dr. Bullard says with the help of federal leaders being involved, he’s talked with several agencies under the DOT program that could provide billions in federal funding for the community.

“Community change grants its two billion dollars in that the city and county can apply for to address needs in a community like Shiloh,” He said.

Doctor Bullard says he hopes to hear from the US Department of Transportation within the next few days.

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