Category: Environment

A ‘gassy’ Alabama coal mine was expanding under a family’s home. After an explosion, two were left critically injured

He’d said he thought his home would explode. He was right.

W.M. Griffice, 78, had told his granddaughter, Kenzie, in the days leading up to March 8 that he felt like his house was going to explode, she recalled.

Company representatives with Oak Grove, a nearby coal mine, had visited Griffice’s home in Adger, a small town 25 miles southwest of Birmingham, multiple times. Once, according to the family, they’d found methane gas in Griffice’s water well, which the mining company capped.

Then there were the loud booms that Griffice heard over and over. Sometimes they were enough to shake the ground underneath his feet, his granddaughter said. It all left Griffice uneasy.

Earlier this month, it happened. As Griffice relaxed in his recliner and his grandson lay in bed, his home exploded, leaving only its small, scorched footprint in the Alabama clay. Read more.

How Racism Flooded Alabama’s Historically Black Shiloh Community

SHILOH COMMUNITY — If it’s been raining, the kids bring two pairs of shoes to the bus stop.

One pair is for before school—for the trek through high water in the historically Black Shiloh community in Coffee County, Alabama.
“They roll their pants legs up, too,” said Otis Andrews, who’s lived in the community nearly all his life.

Once they’ve made it onto the bus, they can change into their second pair, drying out for the school day to come.
“That’s not acceptable,” Andrews said. “It’s really not. They shouldn’t have to do this.”

Shiloh, he explained, is naturally flat. Flooding didn’t start until after the state elevated and expanded U.S. 84. Read more.

Meet the Tiny Fish That Call Only Jefferson County Home

Though the creek water at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in northeast Jefferson County is crystal clear, and thousands visit the preserve each year, it’s highly unlikely most will see three unique fish species that swim alongside them. They are the endangered watercress, rush and vermilion darters

“This is kind of like a ‘Where’s Waldo,’” said preserve manager Charles Yeager, wading through the center of Turkey Creek, looking for the darter. Read more.

A Year After the Moody Landfill Fire: “We Need Just as Much Help Now”

Around Thanksgiving a year ago, a landfill near Moody caught fire, blanketing the surrounding area with smoke. The fire burned for months before the Environmental Protection Agency covered the landfill with dirt to extinguish the flames, but there have been flare ups since. To understand what things are like now, WBHM talked with one nearby resident. Read more.