POLITICAL CORRUPTION IS A NATIONWIDE ISSUE AFFECTING ALL OF US. ALABAMA RANKS #5 AS THE MOST CORRUPT STATE. *DOJ 2007 stats
Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton


PERTINENT ENVIRONMENTAL AND CORRUPTION ISSUES IN OTHER STATES ARE ALSO DISCUSSED


NO OTHER COMMUNITY, RICH OR POOR, URBAN OR SUBURBAN,BLACK, BROWN,RED, YELLOW OR WHITE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BECOME AN "ENVIRONMENTAL SACRIFICE ZONE."

Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

American Rivers Most Endangered Rivers 2011--Black Warrior River #8

Photo credit: Brian T. Murphy

American Rivers annual list of America's most endangered rivers places another Alabama river on the endangered list. Last year, it was the Coosa River at number #10. Both rivers are under threat from the utility giant Southern Company and its subsidiary, Alabama Power, and their insatiable appetite for coal.

More to be proud of from Alabama's self-professed number one "environmentally conscious" big industry.

Strip Mining for Coal Putting Public Health in Danger

Location: Alabama

Flowing for roughly 300 miles, Alabama’s Black Warrior River is a major drinking water source supporting over one million people. Two of Alabama’s largest cities, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, obtain drinking water from the Black Warrior and its tributaries.

The river is also home to many fish, mussel, turtle, crayfish, amphibian, and snail species, including nine threatened or endangered species. The headwaters of the Black Warrior River include the Wild and Scenic Sipsey Fork, which, along with the Mulberry and Locust Forks, is rated among the top 2 percent of United States streams by the National Park Service for its outstanding recreational values.

And all of this is at risk from poor management of surface coal mining.


The Threat

 

The Black Warrior River overlaps with the Warrior Coal Field, which is home to approximately 95 active coal mines – the majority of Alabama’s mines.
Every year, the US Army Corps of Engineers issues special permits that allow numerous mines in Alabama to operate in the same watershed with no consideration of how they impact water quality, public health, and the environment. This type of permit for coal mining is a legal loophole, allowing mines to destroy entire stretches of streams and untold acres of wetlands in the Black Warrior watershed each year.

The US Army Corps of Engineers wisely suspended the use of these permits across most of the Appalachian mining region but continues to allow them in Alabama. And now these permits have become a rubber stamp for nearly all coal mines in the region.

Despite a legal duty to protect Alabama’s waters from the impacts of coal mining, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and Alabama Surface Mining Commission have routinely failed to control pollution. These agencies often issue permits with very weak standards, allowing companies to pollute without any accountability. 


What Must Be Done


Coal mining in the region is polluting the river, destroying wetlands and tributary streams, and threatening public health by polluting the clean water with heavy metals.
 Stronger protections from the impacts of surface coal mining are needed to hold polluters accountable and enforce the law. If the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and the Alabama Surface Mining Commission do not close this dangerous mining loophole and tighten clean water protections, coal mining will continue to damage the Black Warrior and its communities.


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8 comments:

  1. How to kill a river--let ADEM be in charge of what goes into it.
    That agency should just rename to the Alabama Power Department of Environmental Management.

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  2. If you call ADEM and get a lackey on the phone who hasn't been told to shut up (yet), they'll admit all the water in Alabama is polluted, with the air of indifference that seems to suggest "what's a little more going to hurt?"
    That's the way they think because that's what they've been told to think.

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  3. Alabama Power is so appropriately named don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Another big threat to this river and drinking water source is the Northern Beltline. So thankful the SELC and Black Warrior Riverkeepers have challenged ALDOT for not following procedures. The NB route also benefits a few wealthy corporate landowners and our state legislators keep pushing this project and seem to be willing to sacrifice clean drinking water for campaign contributions. I hope citizens will work hard to protect the Black Warrior as it so deserves our efforts.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Let's Get RealMay 17, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    And how about ADEM, PSC and ALDOT all coming out to talk, not about the lead, cadmium, mercury in our land and water, but about the "Cost" of responsible disposal of coal ash.

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  6. Responsible disposal would be in a landfill approved for hazardous waste, such as Emelle.
    The OIG April report on the EPA and their way too close relationship with the coal lobbyists should be enough to bat down these inane arguments from the rubber stampers for Alabama Power-ADEM, the PSC and other held captive by AP agencies.
    We do not need one more Perry County in Alabama!!!!
    Governor Bentley calls himself a Doctor, if he signs this bill he may as well just tell all of Alabama that he does not agree with his Hippocratic Oath!

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  7. Bravo UnionTown!
    You're points are right on.
    Bentley is going to have some explaining to do if he sides with the big polluters over what we know from physicians is a big component of increased health problems: environmental exposures.

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  8. 'Let's get real' and call it as it is, NOTHING this state does is for its citizens.
    It's all about industry and it's corrupting cash, to hell with everything else.
    Yes, it is that simple. And that evil.

    ReplyDelete

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