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Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's no joke; strip mine could get OK near drinking water source

 Did you hear the one about the big coal company that wanted to put a strip mine across the river from a drinking water intake valve?

There's no punch line because it only sounds like a bad joke. It's really no joke at all. Rather, it is a serious threat to our health, our economy and our river.
Photo by Nelson Brooke, Black Warrior RIVERKEEPER

The water intake can be seen in the right middle of the photo.


Photo by Nelson Brooke, Black Warrior RIVERKEEPER

What could be more reckless and shortsighted than to knowingly pollute our own drinking water?
We are told it will benefit the economy. Some of the poorest states, including Alabama, are being ripped open and polluted by the coal industry because it's "good for the economy." Well, after decades of strip mining, those states are still poor, and their land, their mountains, their wells and their rivers are a sickly mess. Pollution and destruction of the land that supports us are the demons of strip mining. Alabama deserves, and should demand, better.
If the cancerous spread of Alabama strip mines is allowed into Shepherd Bend, that's another chunk of Alabama the Beautiful chewed up and spit out, along with the communities that rely on it for clean drinking water. We cannot allow this to happen.
Shame on the University of Alabama for sacrificing its land and our water to rapacious strip mining. Shame on the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for permitting Drummond Coal Co. to discharge wastewater into the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River. The fact that the discharge points are across the river from the intake valve for Birmingham drinking water is unconscionable.
In a few weeks, the Alabama Surface Mining Commission will decide whether to grant a permit for a strip mine at Shepherd Bend. The commission needs to hear from you.
On behalf of Wild South, which represents hundreds of people potentially affected by this project, I oppose this permit and the proposed mine in general. I stand with those who support and fight for the preservation of Alabama's rivers and streams and sustainable, clean energy. And I stand with the people of Cordova who have a dream of building a local economy based on intact, healthy ecosystems and the amazing natural beauty of their home land.
You should, too. Contact the Alabama Surface Mining Commission (asmc@asmc.alabama.gov) and the University of Alabama.
Janice Barrett
Wild South
Moulton

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