Local judge to hear BWWB case against Shepherd Bend Mine
by Daniel Gaddy
Nov 24, 2012 | 2158 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Birmingham Water Works Board is continuing its opposition to a strip mine proposed along the Black Warrior River near Cordova, saying the operation could affect drinking water for 200,000 people.

According to The Birmingham News, a Walker County administrative law judge will hear the Birmingham utility's case on Nov. 28.

Drummond Coal's Shepherd Bend Mine has received the permits required to mine coal near the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River. One point of discharge at the site is about 800 feet from water intake for the board’s Western Filtration Plant.

Officials with the water board sent a 26-page letter to regulators in 2010 expressing concerns about the degradation of source water quality, increased treatment costs and tap water quality. The letter states that the increase of pollutants could lead to hundreds of thousands of customers having tap water that stains sinks and has an "objectionable taste."

The Birmingham City Council also passed a resolution opposing the mine because of issues with water quality.

The majority of the land and mineral rights to the site are owned by the University of Alabama, whose officials have not publicly expressed interest in leasing the property.

According to the Birmingham News, however, Drummond has already assembled enough private agreements to begin mining.

Shepherd Bend Mine has also received opposition from conservation groups and students organizations at the University of Alabama and UAB.

One organization, the nonprofit Black Warrior Riverkeeper, continues to insist that university officials publicly state they will not lease the land to Drummond Coal.