Black Warrior River One Step Closer To Clean Water Protections


This is a guest blog by Charles Scribner, Executive Director, Black Warrior Riverkeeper.


Shepherd Bend, Black Warrior River, AL | © Nelson Brooke

© Nelson Brooke

Tell the University of Alabama, the major owner of land and mineral rights at the proposed mine site, to say NO to Shepherd Bend Mine.

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The Student Government Association (SGA) at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has passed a Resolution urging the University of Alabama System (UA) Trustees to stop the proposed Shepherd Bend Mine from polluting a major drinking water supply for the greater Birmingham area. SGA Senators expressed concern that heavy metals and sediment from the mine would lead to decreased water quality and increased filtration fees for consumers.

UA is the major owner of land and mineral rights needed for the proposed coal mine on the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork in Walker County. The 1,773-acre strip mine would discharge wastewater at several points across the river from a Birmingham Water Works Board intake facility providing drinking water to 200,000 residents daily.

Scientists, engineers, businesses, governments, civil rights groups, religious organizations, environmental advocates, and UA System alumni, faculty and students, have all implored UA not to lease or sell their land and minerals to Shepherd Bend, LLC. That company is owned by Garry Neil Drummond, a Trustee Emeritus of the UA System.

“This issue is of concern to us since we have many students that are from the Birmingham area,” said Nandish Dayal, UAH SGA President.  “The establishment of this mine will directly and indirectly affect them and their families. By standing against this mine the UAH SGA says that we place the health and safety of our students and their loved ones over any economic benefit. We are proud to stand in solidarity with the Student Government associations of UAB and UA to oppose this detriment to the environment and the health of 200,000 plus Birmingham residents.”

“Opposition to the Shepherd Bend Mine stretches to all corners of this great state,” said Charles Scribner, Executive Director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper. “Now, all three UA System Universities’ Student Government Associations have urged their trustees to protect one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® and the UA System’s good reputation.”

To view the UAH SGA Resolution, click here.

To read similar resolutions by the Birmingham City Council, Birmingham neighborhood associations, UA Student Government Association, UAB Undergraduate Student Government Association, UAB Graduate Student Association, UAB Public Health Students Association, and to view more information, documents, action alerts, maps, pictures, and articles about the Shepherd Bend Mine proposal, click here.

Here is an aerial photo by Nelson Brooke, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, with annontations by American Rivers showing the water intake, the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork, and the proposed mine site.