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Press Statement on Northern Beltline Groundbreaking: As Construction Begins, Questions and Doubts Persist about $5.4-Billion Project

Action Alert: There's a stormwater bill in the Alabama Legislature that would restrict local governments' ability to control pollution into nearby waterways.  SB355/HB475 has already passed the Senate, and this week is our last chance to stop it from passing the House of Representatives.  It would greatly weaken protections for local drinking water sources and other waterways where we fish and swim.  Please email or call your Representative to tell them to VOTE NO on SB355/HB475Click here to find your Representative.

Saturday April 19, 2014 from 2pm to sundown, Earthbound will play their annual outdoor rock concert, Earthbound’s Earthfest, at Avondale Brewery (201 41st Street South, Birmingham, AL 35222).  The family friendly event is open to all ages, although guests under 21 must be accompanied by a parent.  Its purpose is to celebrate Earth Day and raise funds for Black Warrior Riverkeeper. Earthbound’s Earthfest will feature fantastic music, art, beer, and food while highlighting how citizens can protect their water from preventable disasters like the Shepherd Bend Mine.

Take Action to protect a major source of drinking water in Alabama!  Urge the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to stop the proposed Shepherd Bend Mine from polluting the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork, which provides daily drinking water for 200,000 people in the greater Birmingham area. Mail or email comments to ADEM about Shepherd Bend Mine by March 17: Russell A. Kelly, Chief | ADEM Permits and Services Division | PO Box 301463 | Montgomery, Alabama 36130-1463 | RAK@adem.state.al.us

Black Warrior Riverkeeper has filed public comments in an appeal of the Alabama Surface Mining Commission’s denial of our petition to designate areas near the Birmingham Water Works Board’s Mulberry Fork drinking water intake as lands unsuitable for surface coal mining.  Our effort to ensure clean, safe, drinkable and affordable drinking water for the Birmingham area recently gained major allies, as three nationally recognized experts on this topic submitted a joint letter in support of our appeal.

Black Warrior Riverkeeper is proud to support the work that Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust has done to secure public lands for outdoor recreation, the ecological integrity of Alabama’s landscape, as well as the flow of outdoor recreation and tourism dollars to local communities.  The last public listening session for Forever Wild's Five Year Plan will be on Thursday, February 27th - 6pm at Jefferson State Community College | Shelby Campus | 4600 Valleydale Rd. | Birmingham, AL 35242. Take Action: 1) Submit comments on how Forever Wild has favorably impacted you and what you would like for the program to accomplish in coming years 2) Attend the public hearing if you can.

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.

Thursday, February 6 at 8pm, Epiphany will host a Farm to Table Dinner to raise money for Black Warrior Riverkeeper and awareness for local food and beverages. Tuscaloosa’s “farm-to-fork” restaurant since 2003, Epiphany (519 Greensboro Ave) will feature discounted beers from Druid City Brewing including an exclusive new wheat brew made with Snow’s Bend Farm strawberries. The event will feature a $39 Tapas Style meal with meat, vegetables and other delicious products of regional farms including Snow’s Bend and Katie Farms from the Black Warrior River watershed. During afternoons and evenings Monday through Saturday, Epiphany will take reservations for the dinner at 205-344-5583.

The continued use of a controversial permit in the Black Warrior River basin by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fails to comply with federal requirements for surface mining, according to a lawsuit filed today by the Southern Environmental Law Center and Public Justice on behalf of Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Defenders of Wildlife. The lawsuit challenges the Corps’ use of a general permit known as Nationwide Permit 21 in Alabama, which has already authorized the fill and burial of hundreds of miles of streams and wetlands to accommodate surface mining, without the detailed study and analysis of cumulative impacts required by the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Today the Alabama Surface Mining Commission (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 an historic opportunity to protect the drinking water source for 200,000 residents in the greater Birmingham area.