Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Environmental Groups Take Rosa Coal Mine Fight to Court of Appeals--SELC

 Press Release January 20, 2011

Gil Rogers, Senior Attorney, 404-521-9900
Cat McCue, Senior Communications Manager, 434-977-4090 (email)

Black Warrior Riverkeeper - Nelson Brooke, 205-458-0095
Friends of the Locust Fork River - Sam Howell, 205-706-4376

Montgomery, AL –
Two Alabama river groups are appealing an administrative law judge's approval of a permit for a massive strip, auger and underground coal mine in Blount County.  The Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of the Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Friends of Locust Fork River, filed the necessary papers this week with the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals; only a few coal mine permits have ever been appealed to this level in Alabama.

The groups say the water pollution control permit for the Rosa Mine issued by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management in October 2009 violates federal and state laws on multiple counts, and would fail utterly to protect water quality. The permit issued to MCoal is for a 3,255-acre coal mine that would allow more than 60 pollution discharge points into numerous feeder streams of the Locust Fork, a tributary of the Black Warrior River that is already on ADEM's list of the most polluted streams in the state.

"The permit that ADEM issued for this huge industrial operation is woefully deficient - there are virtually no meaningful protections for the Locust Fork," said SELC senior attorney Gil Rogers. "We are committed to protecting these resources and the communities that depend on them, and are not giving up the fight."

The groups first appealed the permit in late 2009 after a hearing before the Environmental Management Commission last year, which ruled that the coal mine permit would not harm the Locust Fork. The Montgomery County Circuit Court affirmed that ruling in December.

The groups say ADEM violated federal and state laws in several ways when it issued a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit for the strip mine. For example, the agency failed to conduct a site-specific environmental analysis and instead issued a "rubber-stamp" permit it gives other coal mines. The Rosa Mine permit is virtually identical to the one ADEM issued for the proposed Shepherd Bend Mine in Walker County, which is roughly half the size. (SELC and  Black Warrior Riverkeeper are also challenging that permit; a hearing is scheduled in late February.)  In addition, the agency:
  • Failed to require a pollution abatement and prevention plan from the company;
  • Allowed pollution to be discharged to an already impaired stream;
  • Granted a blanket exemption for all pollution limits when it rains; and 
  • Failed to require limits on chlorides, aluminum and other contaminants that are common problems with coal mine discharges.
 "The Locust Fork near the Rosa Mine is an absolutely beautiful stretch of river where thousands of people from across the country go each year to enjoy its scenery, fishing, paddling opportunities, swimming, hiking, wildlife watching, photography, and more," said Nelson Brooke, Black Warrior Riverkeeper.  "This permit should not have been issued and we will continue to advocate its revocation."  

"Heaven forbid there should ever be a major pollution event on the Locust Fork River, but, as we know from the TVA coal ash spill and the BP oil spill, catastrophes do occur," said Sam Howell, president of the Friends of the Locust Fork River. "That is why our groups are taking these extraordinary steps to ensure that ADEM fully and rigorously evaluates the environmental impacts of this proposed coal mine so close to so many communities."
More info: Coal mining--A Threat to Alabama Waters
The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional conservation organization using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of 40 legal experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.

Web:  www.SouthernEnvironment.org
Facebook:  http://www.fanofselc.org
Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/selc_org

**More information-- Rosamine.org
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  1. For the MCC to reaffirm the ruling in favor of the EMC, and basically the ASMC, MCoal, UA and Drummond, then the likelihood of corruption and political pressure just went up through the roof.
    If they think that they can truly claim there will be no harm to the water supplies of Jefferson Co. with this toxic proposal 800 ft. from the water intakes and appear impartial, using all available information, then I am the new president of the US.
    Please send contributions to....

  2. Agreed.
    The inside baseball is quite transparent.

  3. Drummond is driving this train with his boot on the neck of the University of Alabama.
    Know that.

  4. A donation is coming. Thank you SELC and Black Warrior Riverkeeper!
    You too Max. love what you do!

  5. What Drummond wants, the state of Alabama is only to happen to give, despite the risks to it's citizens.
    I am ashamed of the role my Alma Mater is playing in this dirty game of corruption and cronyism.

  6. Ditto for me.
    Why is the university involved in mineral speculation anyway? They don't need the money, Senator Shelby ensures that UA gets more than it's fair share and Coach Saban is paid a bucket full of money, proving they aren't on the tatters financially.
    Mention Drummond on campus and whispers and worried looks follow right behind. He has way too much power over Witt.

  7. Does anyone have a copy of the MCC order? What judge presided over the case?

  8. It's not the courts job to say pollution doesn't happen and this judge is either incompetent, this is malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance of duty.

    Nonfeasance is to ignore and take no indicated action - neglect.
    Misfeasance is to take inappropriate action or give intentionally incorrect advice.
    Malfeasance is hostile, aggressive action taken to injure the client's interests.

    How the heck could a judge say something like this in the first place, much less make a ruling it's all A-OK? Where are his credentials? I'm not so certain this does not fall under terrorism, tearing up the environment, heavy metals going in the drinking water supply and risking the lives of threatened and endangered species. This sounds criminal the more I think about it.

    If ADEM can't do the job they were hired and are paid to do in this state - all 600 of them - we need to close ADEM down - send those worthless folks home and take our chances on some other agency doing a better job. The pollution in this state is a fact of life - ADEM has been around long enough and if this group is not going to tackle the problems, it's high time the people step up and demand a change of management.

    As far as this judge in Montgomery goes, he has some splainin' to do, Lucy.

  9. I don't agree Coalwatcher - no offense. I don't think the UA has the Drummond boot on their necks - those little girls who act like they run the show in Tuscaloosa take the money and don't mind holding hands and participating with other such physical activities with Drummond.

  10. This is a fast track rubber stamp as usual. ADEM hasn't got the first clue about the pollution control plan BECAUSE THEY NEVER REVIEWED IT!
    They drop kicked it to the ASMC who HAS NO AUTHORITY OVER WATER CONTROL!
    Funny, that once the politically connected Senator Zeb Little came out against the Smith Lake mine POOF! PERMIT DENIED.

  11. EB, do you think the fact that so many influential men (including a number of politicians) have property at Smith Lake might have had something to do with it too?
    Just thinking out loud..

  12. The Rosa Mine website is very informative. Good work!


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