Drummond Shepherd Bend Mine announcement

Become a Member

Statement on Drummond’s Shepherd Bend Mine announcement

This afternoon (July 19, 2015), we received inquiries from several reporters about a press release that Drummond Company had just sent them.  The release stated that Drummond will not renew its permit to mine coal at Shepherd Bend.  Needless to say, that was a very important announcement for the river, the people who enjoy it, and the 200,000 people in the Greater Birmingham area who receive their drinking water from the Birmingham Water Works Board’s intake across from Shepherd Bend.

This appears to be fantastic news for water consumers but, lacking certain key details, including whether this decision is permanent, it would be premature to declare victory. Even if Drummond is permanently shelving its plan to mine at Shepherd Bend, we would continue to pressure The University of Alabama to promise that they will never sell or lease their land or mineral rights to any mining company at Shepherd Bend. Our opposition to mining at Shepherd Bend was never specifically focused on Drummond, and if another company ever showed interest in Shepherd Bend, we would mount the same opposition.

We will continue to monitor the situation.  We deeply appreciate our many partners on this issue, and ask that they remain vigilant with us.  To learn more, click here.

For Cleaner Water,

Charles Scribner
Executive Director
Black Warrior Riverkeeper

Text of original Drummond press release 6/19/2015:

Drummond Company, Inc. announces it will not renew permit to mine at Shepherd’s Bend

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA – Drummond Company, Inc. will not renew its permit to mine coal at the Shepherd’s Bend mine project. With the drop in the price of coal worldwide, the Company finds that the development of Shepherd’s Bend mine would not yield an acceptable rate of return to justify the investment. This decision comes not because of the attack on the viability of protecting the environment during the process of mining at Shepherd’s Bend. The Company would have mined the coal in an environmentally safe manner. As stated, this was brought about by economic reasons, not environmental concerns.

Drummond Company would like to thank the people who have worked tirelessly in trying to bring this project to fruition, including members of the UMWA who were trying to protect their jobs. The Company regrets that so many potential jobs have been lost including the benefits those jobs would have brought to Alabama families, but unfortunately the economics have changed since the Company first started working on this project.

7/1/2015 Update on Shepherd Bend Mine Permits:

Because Drummond’s press release did not specify which permit it will not renew, we requested specifics from the two Alabama agencies involved in coal mine permitting: the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), which issues wastewater discharge (NPDES) permits, and the Alabama Surface Mining Commission (ASMC), which issues mining permits.  ADEM told us that they received a letter from Drummond on June 30 requesting voluntary termination of the extended NPDES permit and withdrawal of the application for reissuance.  ASMC told us that the mining permit expires on or about October 15, 2015, and that the company has informed them that it does not intend to renew this permit.  This was all great news to us at Black Warrior Riverkeeper, though we will remain vigilant for any mining proposals at Shepherd Bend unless the main property owner there, The University of Alabama, finally decides to protect the property in perpetuity.

Share Button