New Chance to Stop the Shepherd Bend Mine

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A New Chance to Stop 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
[email protected]

Let ADEM know what you think about their willingness to allow coal mine pollution into this major source of drinking water.  We encourage you to ask that ADEM 1. deny the permit, 2. hold a public hearing on the proposal in Birmingham (at a time that is convenient for the public after business hours), and 3. respond to your comments (include your name, address, and contact info).  Feel free to reference Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s comments to ADEM as talking points.

Background information:

ADEM issued a wastewater discharge permit to Drummond Company subsidiary Shepherd Bend, LLC on July 21, 2008.  No mining ever started, and the permit’s 5 year term expired.   Shepherd Bend, LLC recently applied to renew its permit, which ADEM has drafted: NPDES Permit No. AL0079162.  ADEM will now accept public comments until close of business (5:00 p.m.) Monday, March 17.

This 1,773-acre strip mine would discharge polluted water at 29 outfalls, including one that is 0.1 mile across the river from the Birmingham Water Works Board’s Mulberry Intake facility.  Metals, sediment, and other pollutants discharged from Shepherd Bend Mine would lead to decreased source water quality and potentially increased water rates.

Three preeminent researchers on water pollution from coal mines recently wrote the following in a public letter:  “Despite our extensive collective experience regarding permit applications in the coalfields of West Virginia and Kentucky, the Shepherd’s Bend mine is the first mining permit application that we have seen immediately adjacent to a public drinking water supply. Given the extensive literature linking surface coal mining to a variety of human health problems with enormous associated public health costs such activity seems particularly ill advised.”

To learn more about the Shepherd Bend Mine proposal, a large coalition’s ongoing efforts to oppose it, The University of Alabama’s pivotal role in the process, and how you can get involved, visit our Shepherd Bend page.

Map showing scope of proposed Shepherd Bend Mine and proximity to BWWB Mulberry Intake.

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