Shannon Mine Lawsuit

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BWRk Files Lawsuit Over Shannon Mine’s 758 Water Pollution Violations.

For Immediate Release:
April 24, 2013

Nelson Brooke, Riverkeeper, Black Warrior Riverkeeper: (205) 458-0095, [email protected]
Eva Dillard, Staff Attorney, Black Warrior Riverkeeper: (205) 458-0095, [email protected]

Birmingham, Ala. – Today, Black Warrior Riverkeeper filed a citizen lawsuit under the Clean Water Act and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act in U.S. District Court for 758 water pollution violations at the Shannon Mine. The surface coal mine, run by Shannon, LLC, operates in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties within the Upper Black Warrior River watershed. The lawsuit addresses the company’s self-reported violations of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES) No. AL0076597 dating back to February 2010.

Shannon Mine has discharged pollutants into an unnamed tributary to Little Blue Creek, Little Blue Creek, Lick Branch and Blue Creek in violation of its NPDES permit, which permits 76 water pollution discharges at the 6,321 acre mine. These streams flow into to Valley Creek, a tributary of Bankhead Lake on the Black Warrior River. Valley Creek and Bankhead Lake are popular destinations for fishing, swimming, canoeing and kayaking, and other recreation. Cited violations are primarily for selenium, which in larger amounts can be toxic to people and wildlife. Selenium bioaccumulates in the aquatic food chain and can result in selenium poisoning of fish, birds and other wildlife. The mine has also reported violations for iron and total suspended solids.

Nelson Brooke, staff Riverkeeper for the nonprofit clean water advocacy organization, noted, “Shannon Mine is polluting tributaries to Valley Creek in violation of its Clean Water Act permit, upstream of where thousands of people recreate each year. That’s not the way it is supposed to work, so we aim to hold Shannon, LLC accountable to the law.”

Eva Dillard, Staff Attorney for Black Warrior Riverkeeper, explained, “Our objective in filing suit today is to ensure that Shannon Mine is quickly returned to permit compliance to end the discharge of selenium and other pollutants to affected tributaries of the Black Warrior River.”

To view a photo of Shannon Mine’s sign, click here.

To view the lawsuit, click here.


Black Warrior Riverkeeper is a citizen-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect and restore the Black Warrior River and its tributaries. A member of Waterkeeper Alliance, Black Warrior Riverkeeper was the Alabama Environmental Council’s 2007 Conservation Organization of the Year and the American Canoe Association’s 2008 Green Paddle Award winner. Nelson Brooke, Riverkeeper, won the Alabama Rivers Alliance’s 2010 River Hero Award. In 2013, American Rivers selected the Black Warrior as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers. Contact: Nelson Brooke, at [email protected] or (205) 458-0095 or Eva Dillard, Staff Attorney, at [email protected] or 205-458-0095.

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