The Alabama Surface Mining Commission (ASMC) will hold a public hearing on Thursday, February 20 on appeals of Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s Lands Unsuitable for Coal Mining Petition. The hearing will start at 10:00 AM in the Activity Room of the Community Health Systems Building (204 19th St. East #100 - Jasper, AL 35501). On October 28, 2013, the ASMC refused to declare 40,300 acres of land adjacent to the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River as off limits to coal mining, missing a historic opportunity to protect the drinking water source for 200,000 residents in the greater Birmingham area. Black Warrior Riverkeeper and the Birmingham Water Works Board each appealed that decision in separate filings on November 26, 2013. The purpose of the upcoming public hearing is to hear those appeals, although Birmingham area drinking water consumers and concerned citizens can sign up to speak onsite prior to the beginning of the hearing.