It is not a ranking to brag about. The Black Warrior River that flows through central and west Alabama is now one of America's top ten endangered rivers, according to environmental watchdog group "American Rivers." Charles Scribner, executive director of the Black Warrior Riverkeeper, does not mind the national attention.
"It means that they're at a crossroads where a key decision can really set the future for that river and the people who rely on it," said Scribner.
That decision is the proposed Shepherd's Bend Mine in the Mulberry Fork near Cordova in Walker County. There have been numerous protests against the mine because it could affect the drinking water for Birmingham residents.
"The proposed strip mine is across the river from where 200,000 people get their drinking water daily in the greater Birmingham area," explained Scribner. He says Drummond Company has applied for the mining permit, but they only have 34 acres of land leased at this time. They need 1,773 acres for the entire project.
The University of Alabama owns the land they need. "So what we hope comes out of this process is national and local pressure on UA to do the right thing and say that they will never lease land for strip mining so close to where Birmingham gets its water," said Scribner.
Fox 6 contacted UA about the land received this statement from spokesperson, Debbie Lane:
"The University has not been approached about leasing the land and has no current plans to lease or sell the land."
The Black Warrior Riverkeeper wants a stronger commitment from UA.
"What we want them to do is to put everyone at ease more permanently and say we will never lease or sell the land for Shepherd's Bend," said Scribner.
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