The workshop, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Dovertown Baptist Church near Cordova, is being held to assist area residents who would like to submit letters to the Alabama Surface Mining Commission regarding a petition by the Black Warrior Riverkeeper to declare land along the river from Cane Creek in Cordova to the confluence of the Mulberry and Locust forks as land unsuitable for mining.
“There are a lot of people who feel mining along the river is a bad thing, but they may not know exactly how to contact the surface mining commission,” said Randy Palmer, a member of Citizens Opposed to Strip Mining on the Black Warrior River. “We will be there to talk about the issue and to provide any help we can to people who would like to send in a public comment.”
Palmer said all perspectives on the issue are welcome.
“Dialogue is essential,” he said.
Black Warrior Riverkeeper filed the petition with the ASMC in September to designate areas adjacent to the Birmingham Water Works Board’s Mulberry Fork drinking water intake as lands unsuitable for coal mining. The petition opens another front in the group’s ongoing fight to stop coal mining upstream of the public water intake facility that supplies water daily to around 200,000 Birmingham-area residents.
Areas that affect renewable resource lands where coal mining could result in a substantial loss or reduction of long-range productivity of water supply are eligible for designation as lands unsuitable for mining.
According to Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke, the goal of the petition is to protect an important resource — clean, safe and affordable drinking water.
“Protecting the source of our drinking water, the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River, is the most cost and resource effective way to provide clean drinking water now and in the future,” Brooke said in a press release. “It makes absolutely no sense for the state to issue permits to pollute the source of our drinking water, so that drinking water customers can then pay to clean up a polluter's mess.”
Comments may be mailed to ASMC, Attention: Ann Miles, P.O. Box 2390, Jasper, AL, 35502. All comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Thurs., Jan. 31.
The commission will hold a public hearing approximately 60 days after the close of the public comment period.