Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Second Permit Filed for Coal Mine Near Mulberry Fork--Cordova, Alabama

The Mayor who feels no shame in the wreckage of the 'church of secrets'

Reed Minerals, Inc. has filed a permit with the Alabama Surface Mining Commission dated July 5, 2011 for a second mine to be located near the contested Sheperd's Bend Mine along the eighth most threatened river in the US, the Black Warrior River. The land for the Reed Mine belongs to the Cordova Industrial Board and Reed claims it will "bring twenty jobs and have a payroll of $1.5 million."

In an article we wrote on June 1, 2011 entitled "World Class Jack" a reference to Cordova Mayor Jack Scott, we surmised that his refusal to allow FEMA trailers for victims of the April 27th tornado devastation had everything to do with coal. Mayor Scott had to have another reason for his stubbornness that garnered world wide attention and heaped huge embarrassment on him and the city leaders of Cordova.
Scott has heard all the complaints, and he isn't apologizing. He said he doesn't want run-down mobile homes parked all over town years from now.
"I don't feel guilty," he said. "I can look anyone in the eye."
And whatever that reason was it had to be a good one, in his mind at least, but he did very little eye to eye looking at anyone and refused repeated requests for interviews by national media outlets. 

We are not pleased to report we were correct in our suspicions of why Jack Scott was acting like a typical 'Big Mule' about the whole thing--payday was coming for him.

The Cordova Industrial Board (CIB) owns the land the Reed mine will be sited on and they'll make a bundle off the mineral rights. Earlier this year, the CIB acquired a 47 acre tract of land that will allow the transport of materials by river and rail, a site well-suited for coal transport and it's no surprise coal connoisseur Alabama Power approves:
The property is valued at $350,000. It was obtained at no cost by the Cordova Water and Gas Board through negotiations in exchange for services rendered in the past to Warrior River Steel, the land’s previous owner.
The Cordova Industrial Development Board will be responsible for marketing it.
Jack Drummond, chairman of both the Water and Gas Board and CIDB, said city officials have been trying to obtain the site for approximately two years.
Drummond said the area was called prime property during a meeting with Alabama Power representatives last year. Mayor Jack Scott added that the city has the option of buying some adjoining acres, which would bring the site’s total to 150.“It gives us the potential to bring jobs into the city. We need jobs in Walker County and Alabama,” he said. 
Walker County owes its soul to coal and to the Drummond family. In a 2009 Walker County Annual Report, it's clear who wants a piece of Walker County's 'black gold' from the generous contributions rolling into the county coffers. 

Mayor Scott isn't going to be left in the coal dust he had to endure when he worked the mines, he's moving up and on his way to easy money street with the Reed Minerals deal.

Scott claimed that jobs and having young people move into the area were part of his reasoning for disallowing Cordovians access to FEMA trailers within the city limits. He called FEMA trailers an "eyesore" and an impediment to a "young, professional class" of potential residents wanting to move Cordova and "put down roots" translating to new folks will mean jobs coming closely behind.

The mine will bring twenty jobs. Hardly an employment boom by any logical measure.

Mines aren't normally a draw for "young professionals" to pour into an area. Who wants to raise a family in an area with a loud, filthy and destructive coal mine as their next door neighbor? Not many we can think of would see that as idyllic portrait of family living.

But in the world of Jack Scott, a former coal miner himself, it's a winner. 

All the way to the bank.
*photocredit: Gawker.com 
Facebook page--"Cordova-The Truth"
*Update--Public Meeting Notice 7/12/2011 on Reed Mine posted on Cordova-TheTruth 
Bookmark and Share
 Subscribe in a reader


  1. Just wonderful! The tornadoes rip the city to shreds and here comes Scott and the coal and utility gang to polish them off for good.
    Stupid, stupid, STUPID!
    Two mines discharging into the drinking water supplies of Birmingham. That's a prehistoric mule move if ever I saw one.
    If this isn't proof that big coal does not give a damn who and what they destroy you must be a coal miner to make sense of this absolute madness!
    I'm am sick to death of this in Alabama!
    Time for a revolution with pitchforks and torches.

  2. Hmmm....didn't take long for that dirty little secret to come roaring out to say hell-oh NOW did it?

  3. Par for the course in Walker County.

  4. Didn't the Colombian mine recently sell for an ungodly sum? Is GND strapped for cash already?

  5. Is there a transparency and accountability process in place to account for the money the board and city has control of? Anyone going to be looking closely at the books? Maybe as closely as they have not been looking so far?

  6. You know cell phone records are not hard to get. Would be interesting to see Jack Scott's for the past year.

  7. Add some FOIA requests to that too truth.
    Any citizen has a right to request through FOIA any and all records of public officials.
    I would ask for appointment books, records of meetings, correspondence between the city and anyone, and go a step farther and cover the Walker County officials with FOIA's too.
    They will try and thwart it with outrageous fees, but if the people can hook in with a group, like the riverkeepers maybe, and show their requests are not based in profiting but serve a public right to know purpose, fees are waved. That's the law.
    Organization and going after the city and the county through all available means will be key.
    Put a level head in charge, not some know it all.

  8. They have known about this for well over a year take that to the bank.

  9. You might be surprised how hard it is to get some information from Cordova City Hall. They are not in the digital age as far as records. There was an investigation done a few years ago, concerning checks written to Jack Scott's relatives, the youngest being 6 months old. The strangest thing, those records were lost in a flood.

    People in Cordova also can not get on the agenda to speak at the City Council meetings and when they request information, they are belittled and grilled on the reasons they want that information. The number of violations is unreal, but you also have a group of people that are used to doing what they have been told to do and don't realize what rights they really do have.

  10. sleeper5, the Columbian mine did not sell. 20% was sold to a Japanese company for about 1.5 billion. That Columbian mine is huge and Drummond isn't letting go of it.

    They liked Columbia because of not having to deal with Labor Unions and if they will hire someone for the Columbian division that can get rid of union leaders, they aren't giving that gold mine up. The human rights violations in Columbia right now are unspeakable.

  11. Church of secrets reads more like a church of you are not welcome even if it means you'll die in a tornado! What a dark story of preventable tragedy and the even darker hearts that surround Mr. Scott.
    New York Times picked that story up.
    Around Tornado Deaths A Nagging Tale of Shelter Denied
    I wonder what is going on with it now? That should be followed up on.

  12. If you keep doing a little digging around in the dirty little pile there's no telling what you might come up with.
    It's been said that Cordova could be a great bedroom community to Birmingham. Who would have a vested interest in making sure that doesn't happen?
    After all the tax base won't benefit Bham and Jefferson County. People are leaving in droves.
    Get my meaning?

  13. Who has the interest in making it a bedroom community to Birmingham? The Developer of that expensive community.

    Development of exclusive, expensive properties, one of the many Drummond Company talents. It's listed right on Drummond's website and they have listed a few of their more expensive communities on the page, just one of them listed is in Alabama, btw.

    Makes you wonder why almost all the Board Members for the rebuilding Committee are actual Drummonds or employees at Drummond, huh? Mary Beth Thorne Stukes, daughter of Barbara Drummond, niece of Gary Neil Drummond, inherited her mother's share of Drummond and is the CHAIRPERSON of the Cordova Rebuilding Committee.

    Does she live in Cordova? NO

    She and her husband, Rickie Stukes own the LLC that is a member on the After Hours Care in Jasper (workman comp injuries for Drummond go there) and Rickie is a member on that board. He is also a member on the Jasper Urgent Care, whom Drummond also uses for Workman Comp injuries.

    A little search on the Secretary of State's website, searching for member names and searching for "Stukes" will get you started into a very tangled group of companies.

    FYI, searching for the incorporator name: Webster, Bruce (that way, last name first) will show you pages of companies where he is still listed. There are numerous where the name has been changed, you have to find those other ways. Webster's address is the Drummond #2 building in Jasper.

    Who is Bruce Webster? From the Drummond website:

    Bruce C. Webster – Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of Drummond Company, Inc.

    In one way or another, Drummond owns most of Walker County and looks like they are about to own Cordova and Dovertown.

  14. Drummond may have a lot of developments but he isn't about to sink a load of money into Cordova for upscale property projects.
    The Mayor of Birmingham wouldn't like that one bit and since the coal boys will be using that plum site on the river there goes a prime real estate site for residential development. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and Cordova is destined to be the next sacrifice zone, not arrival area.
    In these greed meisters way of thinking what's in the ground is worth more than what might be on top. Geological maps show deep coal seems all in that area. They are after the coal period.

  15. Can't you just see it now? Cordova home of multi-million dollar coal blackened Mcmansions.

  16. 5Points you are very mistaken. Dovertown will be a waterfront community, this mining and rebuilding will be done about the time I22 is finished, will be a short drive from Jefferson and Shelby Counties.

    Cordova is the closet town, it will be built up to support that kind of community. This is what Drummond does, the employees that are involved in this part of Drummond have been talking, A LOT.

  17. Nope sorry. Rarely is mined land used for much of anything substantial for the most part. The subsurface that mining destroys is very difficult to replace and make as solid as the bedrock that was removed.

    If it does get redeveloped I would cast a skeptical eye to future problems similar to the chinese drywall that showed up in Drummond developments. GND didn't give a damn about that and he won't be any different about this.

    Big Coal loves to claim reclamation as a reason to mine, but it's industry propaganda. We'll respectfully disagree on it and not keep arguing it okay? Like your FB page btw.

    The AP obtained post-mining land use records from Kentucky and West Virginia, the two states where Appalachian strip mining is most prevalent. In 2009, those states accounted for nearly three-quarters of the coal taken from surface mines in the 13 Appalachian states.

    Of the more than 345,700 acres of mining lands in eastern Kentucky that have been approved for a specific post-mining purpose, just over 6,300 acres, or about 1.8 percent, have been designated for “commercial,” “industrial” or “residential” developments, according to data provided by the state Department of Natural Resources. The figures date back to 1999, but could include some land permitted before that time, officials said.

    State officials said those figures don’t include developments that can be sought by private landowners after the state ends its oversight of the mined land.

    Since October 2001, West Virginia has granted 218 surface mining permits, covering 84,793 acres. Of that acreage, 6,035 acres, or about 7 percent, have been designated for industrial/commercial, public service or residential development, according to data provided by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Mining Reclamation. The developed land includes an athletic complex, livestock fields and a subdivision.

    The West Virginia data also does not include development sought by private owners after state oversight ended.

    The vast majority of the post-mining land uses in both states were designated for fish and wildlife habitat, forest or pasture lands.

    A Washington-based environmental group found in its own study that economic developments in four Appalachian states have been sporadic on lands where mountaintop removal and other mountain strip mining occurs.

    A survey late last year from the Natural Resources Defense Council claims that nearly 90 percent of 410 sites surveyed “had no form of verifiable post-mining economic reclamation excluding forestry and pasture.”

  18. Let that conclude the back and forth please.

    One thing we don't encourage is continual discourse between commenters. Have your say, but don't keep on with it please so others can offer their opinions.

    Both of you offer valuable input. Let's let it stand as such and not descend into anything less.

    Appreciate your cooperation and commentary.


  19. Max,

    The only thing I would like to post is the proof of what Drummond does, their own offices sits on one of these such sites, Liberty Park. This information can be found on Drummond's own website. We are very careful what information we put out as fact and clear when we aren't sure. I have no argument, but just the info from Drummond's own site for others to look at and see.


  20. Birmingham Water Works cannot be happy about this. Let's see how long it takes them to issue a statement. If they do at all.
    I hope every resident served by the water works realizes their water fees will increases as treatment costs go up to filter out the poison from two mines!
    Looks like Mayor Scott meant it when he basically told Birmingham to go f off.

  21. I get it now.
    Corridor X aka 1-22 is part of the Northern Beltline mess that's going to cost billions before it's all over, meanwhile the rest of the roads in the state are going to pot-holes. ALDOT is not a good steward of federal money and once they start a project they take forever and huge cost overruns come fast.
    Who are the landowners in the Corridor X project path in Walker County? I bet we see the same names as the Northern Beltline path in Jefferson County: USS Steel, Drummond, etc.

  22. Cordova is very vulnerable after the tornadoes. Perfect time for the miners to make another move.
    Those tornadoes devastated the area someone was bound to take advantage of it.


  23. The big money boys will quiet the dissent with campaign contributions. Remember Bell is up for re-election soon.

  24. Drummond and Alabama Power are the shadow government. Anyone who doesn't get that by now cannot see.

  25. Jack is a dirty little boy.


IP tracking & BS detector is enabled.
Don't set it off.