Business Alliance for Responsible Development
The Business Alliance for Responsible Development (BARD) is an industry lobbying group which was formed in 2005 to oppose the recommendations of the Upper Cahaba Watershed Study and the operations of the Storm Water Management Authority. The group, made up largely of developers, contractors and construction suppliers, has lobbied the SWMA's member governments to withdraw from the authority and to perform oversight functions themselves or by contracting with private consulting firms. Hoover, Birmingham, Bessemer and Jefferson County all passed resolutions of intent to withdraw, though some Jefferson County officials viewed the move as a mistake.
Members of the alliance include the Alabama Associated General Contractors, Alabama Power Company, Alagasco, Barber Companies, Bayer Properties, Birmingham Association of Realtors, Drummond Company, First Commercial Bank, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, Jenkins Brick, Liberty Park Joint Venture LLP, Ready Mix USA, RealtySouth, Saiia Construction, Sherman Industries, Spectrum Environmental Services, Stonegate Realty, Thompson Tractor, and USS Real Estate.
Shortly after it was formed, BARD filed a lawsuit against the SWMA claiming that it exceeded its regulatory authority, specifically in issuing a request for increased fees, in investigating development under the jurisdiction of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and in reporting on conditions not pertaining to storm water management. In August 2007 Circuit Court judge Tom King ruled in BARD's favor on the first claim, agreeing that public notice had not been properly filed before the fee increase was requested. Both parties agreed to dismiss the other claims of the lawsuit. BARD claimed that its lobbying efforts had brought about the desired changes in SWMA's operations while environmental groups such as the Cahaba River Society and Black Warrior Riverkeeper held that BARD would never have been able to prove their claims.
- Spencer, Thomas (October 16, 2009) "Jefferson County storm water management suit dismissed; sides disagree on meaning." Birmingham News.