Environmental group Black Warrior Riverkeeper was ruled against in a U.S. District Court in a lawsuit in which it sought to challenge the permitting process for the Northern Beltline. The Northern Beltline, a 52-mile highway project that would connect Interstate 459 in Bessemer with Interstate 59 in northeast Jefferson County, is looked upon by some as an environmental hazard and economic waste.
Black Warrior Riverkeeper alleged that the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not conduct an environmental impact for the entirety of the Northern Beltline. However, the judge ruled that the organizations were not required to perform such an analysis. Gil Rogers, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center that is defending the Black Warrior Riverkeepeer spoke on the groups state of mind following the ruling:
"We stand by our position that these agencies have continuously cut corners for the monetary gain of a few wealthy landowners and corporations to move the project forward without fully analyzing the environmental and economic costs, impacts, or alternatives."