A comprehensive program of environmental management for the state was established in 1982 with the passage by the Alabama Legislature of the Alabama Environmental Management Act. The law created the Alabama Environmental Management Commission and established the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, which absorbed several commissions, agencies, programs and staff that had been responsible for implementing environmental laws. ADEM administers all major federal environmental laws, including the Clean Air, Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water acts and federal solid and hazardous waste laws. ADEM assumed these responsibilities only after demonstration that state laws and regulations are at least equivalent to federal standards and that the state has matching funds and personnel available to administer the programs.
ADEM's mission is to provide environmental stewardship through the implementation of authorized environmental statutes, advocating statutory change as needed.