Black Warrior River

SGA votes to oppose the Shepherd Bend Mine

The University of Alabama Student Government Association Senate passed a resolution to oppose the University of Alabama’s potential release of land and mineral rights for the Shepherd Bend Mine that would discharge potentially dangerous wastewater into the Black Warrior River. “It’s a resolution that states that the SGA and the students urge the University of Alabama Board of Trustees and the Board of Trustees of the Alabama System to not release the land and the mineral rights . . . We are asking them and imploring them not to lease that land to Shepherd Bend, LLC,” said Elliot Bell, a sophomore in his first year as an SGA senator and the resolution’s author. The mine, which has been a cause of protest at UA since 2007, was proposed by Shepherd Bend, LLC, and would be 800 feet from a major intake of the Birmingham Water Works Board that filters water for 200,000 Birmingham residents.

Petitioners at UAB seek to stop mine

Joe Olson cares about the purity of his drinking water. In fact, he cares about the other 200,000 Birmingham residents whose drinking water he says would suffer from the impurities lurking in wastewater discharged from a proposed coal mine along the Black Warrior River. In 2007, Shepherd Bend, LLC, a coal mining company owned by the members of the family who own Drummond Coal, proposed a coal mine 800 feet from a major drinking water intake of the Birmingham Water Works Board that filters water for 200,000 Birmingham residents. The proposed mine would discharge water from its settling ponds into the river just upstream from the Water Works drinking water intake at the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River.

Coal mining proposition could have devastating effects on drinking water

Coal mining on the Black Warrior River faces a new attack. The Birmingham NAACP sent a letter signed by 22 environmental organizations Tuesday imploring President Robert Witt and UA to halt creation of a coal mine on the Shepherd Bend portion of the Black Warrior River. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management granted a permit for the Shepherd Bend mine in mid-August, despite protests from environmental groups and grassroots campaigns that claimed the mining could pollute a nearby drinking water intake for the city of Birmingham. Now, approval from UA, which holds rights to the land, is the one of the only hurdles left to clear. “As the major owner of the land and minerals of Shepherd Bend, they can essentially stop the mining process,” said Charles Scribner, head of Black Warrior Riverkeeper. “Protecting the environment is one of the pillars of our platform,” said the Rev.

Riverkeeper speaks against Shepherd Bend mine

The potential for Shepherd Bend, LLC to place a strip mine on University property next to the Black Warrior River continues to draw opposition from students and concerned citizens. The University of Alabama Environmental Council, an environmentalist student group, invited Black Warrior Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke to speak Wednesday evening in Lloyd Hall about the damage coal mining can have on the state's rivers. Stretching 300 miles in length, the Black Warrior River has much to lose in terms of the quality of its drinking water and its habitat from coal mining activities, such as wastewater discharge, Brooke said. The proposed coal mine would be situated across the river from a major drinking water intake for the Birmingham Water Works Board, which supplies drinking water for about 200,000 people, he said. Chemicals deposited into the water supply can have consequences for the long-term health of those who consume the pollutants, Brooke said. “A fair amount of exposure can cause some problems,” he said.