Pediatrician says mine pollution could cause birth defects
| Reported by: Mike McClanahan |
Last Update: 7:39 pm
In their comments to the Alabama Surface Mining Commission which is considering the Shepherd Bend mine permit, the Birmingham Water Works Board said the mine would threaten water quality. The water board opposes the mine, and now it seems a local pediatrician has joined the fight.
Dr. Hubert Rodriguez thinks the threat posed by heavy metals and other mining pollutants would be most severe for pregnant women and unborn children.
"It's probable that they would be the most sensitive, because it doesn't require but minimal amounts of these substances to produce serious side effects." said Dr. Rodriguez. "It's possible that this could lead to serious illnesses, miscarriages, probably some mental retardation- congenital malformations." The Black Warrior Riverkeeper is the environmental group which is leading the charge against the Shepherd Bend mine. The mine has already received a permit from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
"The central issue for the wastewater permit issued by ADEM is that, even if Shepherd Bend complies with terms of its permits, it can still discharge toxic pollutants and sediment into our source drinking water. For example, the permit allows Shepherd Bend to discharge iron up to 10 times the levels recommended by the Safe Drinking Water Act, 40 times the levels of manganese recommended by the Safe Drinking Water Act, and we think that's unacceptable," said Eva Dillard, Staff attorney for the Black Warrior Riverkeeper. "This particular drinking water intake facility for the Birmingham Water Works services 200,000 customers."
The director of the Alabama Surface Mining Commission was out of the office October 11th, because Columbus Day is a state holiday.
A receptionist for the company which is seeking the mine permit, Eagle 1, LLC, said that the only person who could speak about the issue was also out October 11th.
A decision on the permit is expected on or before October 19th, 2010.