It’s a Matter of Pride. School Pride.
Today’s guest blog about the #7 Black Warrior River- a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series- is from Caitlin McClusky, with the Coalition of Alabama Students for the Environment (CASE). CASE is a network of student leaders on eight college campuses in Alabama who are working together on the state’s most pressing environmental challenges.
Should the University of Alabama decide to lease or sell land and mineral rights at Shepherd Bend, the proposed coal mine on the Black Warrior River would diminish quality of life for communities along the river, impact drinking water quality, and increase water treatment costs for hundreds of thousands of people in Birmingham.
Since 2010, the Coalition of Alabama Students for the Environment (CASE) has actively worked in opposition to the construction of the mine. As students united for the long-term environmental and economic well-being of our state, we believe our institutions of higher learning have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of water resources where they have power over them— that certainly includes protecting the drinking water quality of the largest municipality in the state.
The quality of life for thousands of Alabamians should not be sacrificed for such short-term and short-sighted investment on behalf of the University of Alabama. Indeed, if the University of Alabama President and Board of Trustees will not stop drinking water contamination when they have the power to do so, what does this say about our state as a whole?
For me personally, this is an issue of school pride. As a recent graduate of the University of Alabama, I cannot stand the thought of my alma mater allowing such a misguided project to go forward.
We are now at a crossroads. If the University wishes to preserve its reputation, it must take the necessary steps to ensure that its future actions will not result in negative repercussions for our citizens and our natural resources. Should University leaders make the right choice, the school has a great opportunity to emerge from this controversy as a hero for hundreds of thousands of Alabamians— and that is worthy of a hearty “Roll Tide”.
Please tell the University of Alabama to publically state that they will never lease their lands for mining at Shepherd Bend!
And of course, ROLL TIDE!