Monday, February 23, 2009

The Dirty Lie ROAD TRIP!

I leave tomorrow morning for what I am calling The Dirty Lie road trip. I will travel to New York City for the launching of After the party in NYC with Bobby Kennedy, Gloria Reuben, Kevin Bacon, and many others who want to debunk the myth of cleansing fossil fuel, I will travel to DC for a Green Peace demonstration denouncing the use of coal as a clean product. It can't be done!
I will stop along the way and interview people in coal country on camera going up and coming back. On my return I will edit all and post periodically on 
Check in on my blog at for trip updates and postings of the trip.

See Ya in the blogs, LEAVE COMMENTS!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Victory at the Supreme Courts

Victory over a coal strip mine on Hurricane Creek

It was announced yesterday that the Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Friends of Hurricane Creek and Alabama Rivers Alliance in the matter of Tuscaloosa Resources Inc. permitted discharge of a known pollutant into a waterway, Hurricane Creek, on the EPA 303(d) list of impaired streams.

Our victory this time is the last chance for either ADEM or TRI to appeal further. It is over we won. 

From our attorney, Edwin Lamberth…
Subject: FW: Alabama Rivers Alliance and Friends of Hurricane Creek v. ADEM, et al. - ANOTHER VICTORY

John and Cindy,

Today, the Alabama Supreme Court denied Tuscaloosa Resources's Petition for Writ of Certiorari. This means that our victory is complete and cannot be challenged any further.

Have a great weekend.

Best regards,


Subject: Alabama Rivers Alliance and Friends of Hurricane Creek v. ADEM, et al. - ANOTHER VICTORY

February 20, 2009
Ex parte Tuscaloosa Resources, Inc. PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE
COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS (In re: Tuscaloosa Resources, Inc. v. Alabama Rivers Alliance,
Inc., and Friends of Hurricane Creek) (Montgomery Circuit Court: CV-04-1052; Civil Appeals :
WHEREAS, the petition for writ of certiorari in the above referenced cause has been
duly submitted and considered by the Supreme Court of Alabama and the judgment indicated
below was entered in this cause on February 20, 2009:
Writ Denied. No Opinion. PER CURIAM - Cobb, C.J., and Woodall, Smith, Parker, and
Shaw, JJ., concur.
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to Rule 41, Ala. R. App. P., IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
that this Court's judgment in this cause is certified on this date. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED
that, unless otherwise ordered by this Court or agreed upon by the parties, the costs of this
cause are hereby taxed as provided by Rule 35, Ala. R. App. P.
I, Robert G. Esdale, Sr., as Clerk of the Supreme Court of Alabama, do hereby certify that the
foregoing is a full, true, and correct copy of the instrument(s) herewith set out as same appear(s) of record
in said Court.
Witness my hand this 20th day of February, 2009.
Clerk, Supreme Court of Alabama

Coal is Dirty, Dangerous, and Depleting. 


Monday, February 9, 2009

TN Fly Ash Dam Break - Photos by John Wathen

On 12.29.08 John Wathen, the Creekkeeper for the Friends of Hurricane Creek out of Tuscaloosa, AL, flew with SouthWings to document the dam break. To learn more about the Friends of Hurricane Creek or if you are interested in reproduction rights to these images, please contact John L. Wathen,












Tuscaloosa News Editorial

WHIT GIBBONS: John Wathen is helping to save Hurricane Creek


(Staff file photo| Michael Palmer)
John Wathen, left, addresses a group of protesters that organized in front of Tuscaloosa Middle school where a Alabama Dept. of Transportation meeting was being held in 2002.

Some environmental stories are worth updating and retelling, especially when they have good endings, such as this one.

During the past century, a man in Tuscaloosa began telling elected officials and the general public about the historical, cultural and environmental significance of a local stream. The stream had suffered abuse by industrial impacts and blatant disregard for environmental stewardship.

The man is John Wathen. The stream is called Hurricane Creek. Last week, the Tuscaloosa County Commission agreed to set aside 249 acres on the creek for a public park. This enlightened action by the commission is commendable not only for the land protection itself but also for the recognition of Wathen's message as an important one to support. Several years ago, I wrote a column about Wathen, praising his kind of environmental activism and lauding him as a hero. To reprint parts of it today seems timely and appropriate.

Most great causes or significant advances throughout history have heroes associated with them. Ecology and environmentalism are no exception, and the history books will recognize some for many years. Aldo Leopold is known for advancing principles of conservation. President Theodore Roosevelt implemented countless conservation measures from his political vantage point. Archie Carr led the way for international efforts to protect sea turtles.

But the chapters are always too short to acknowledge some of the lesser known, but equally important, contributors to a better environment. I refer to the countless numbers of people who are concerned about keeping a healthy environment and who go about making a difference in local communities through their commitment.

We all know people like this, and the downside of mentioning any one individual is that dozens of others who also contribute go unmentioned. But that is the way of the world, so let me mention Wathen, who is making a difference environmentally at a place, Hurricane Creek, I am familiar with.

I have been to the creek many times; my first memory of it was as a 5-year-old during World War II with my grandparents and seeing a clear stream running over and around rocks big enough for a family picnic. High cliffs with hardwoods and pines framed the far side. Sandbars lined the near shore up to the edge of the woodland. My memories are of deep pools with fish, the sounds of swirling waters around rocks, and the fresh smell of outdoors.

Of course, many places in this country have such a creek, and the exact location does not matter for my point, which is that in the years since my childhood, Hurricane Creek has changed. Upstream pollution, trash from negligent creek visitors, and a general degrading occurred over time. But the water continued to pour forth, and the creek remained.

Then Wathen set about to make some changes for the better, to return Hurricane Creek to as close to its original pristine condition as possible. He canoed on the creek, picking up cans and bottles in the shallows and on the shore, plucking plastic bags and wrappers from the vegetation. He persuaded others to take up the cause of restoring a beautiful piece of nature to its former self. He developed an organization called Friends of Hurricane Creek.

Wathen faced the same obstacles from political and commercial interests that anyone does when trying to set things right. Pollution is not an easy thing to quell with big business and self-serving politics involved. Attitudes are not always easy to change when a community decides that nothing can be done because the problem's too big or the political opposition too powerful. But Wathen persisted. He still persists.

And the creek is again beginning to look like my long-ago memory of it.

Hurricane Creeks are all over the country and most of them need a protector. Such people do not always get mentioned in books on the history of the environment, but their efforts are vital to all of us. We still have heroes around who will work against steep odds to protect the environment.

And every one of them could use help.

Some will finally see results, as have John Wathen and Hurricane Creek, a place I would like to take my own grandchildren.

Reach Whit Gibbons' at

Friday, February 6, 2009

CRIME in progress

Rick Dove speaks about Alabama's environment and calls it a "CRIME in Progress"