Four years ago the Black Warrior Riverkeeper roused public opinion to keep the Shepherd Bend coal mine from opening. Now the river protection advocacy organization is warning of another proposed mining operation – this one three miles upstream on the Mulberry Fork from Shepherd Bend.
What’s called the No.5 Mine is in the Walker County community of Dovertown, near the city of Cordova. Mays Mining Inc. would operate the mine at a former industrial site that was left with contaminated groundwater, according to Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke. Read more.
In the past four years, Alabama Power has reduced its coal-fired units from 23 to 10. After Plant Gorgas closes, only three coal-burning plants will remain in the company’s energy portfolio.
The Plant Gorgas news came hard on the heels of PowerSouth Electrical Cooperative’s recent decision to shutter Plant Lowman on the Tombigbee River next year. Last week, the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors voted to close two of the eight coal plants in its inventory. And just two weeks ago, Georgia Power Co. proposed to retire five such units at two power plants.
These are just the latest in a trend across the country to reduce reliance on coal and diversify utility portfolios with other sources of energy, principally wind, solar and other renewables. Read more.
One of Alabama’s oldest coal-fired power plants will close next year. PowerSouth Energy Cooperative’s chief executive blamed the closure on “extremist environmental ideologies” and “environmental activists” in announcing that the Charles R. Lowman electrical generation plant on the Tombigbee River would be shuttered.
In an emailed newsletter on New Year’s Eve, Smith told Plant Lowman’s 150 employees that coal ash regulations, among others, are forcing the plant to end the use of coal to generate power at the Washington County facility.
“Good people will soon be looking for new jobs because of extremist environmental ideologies,” he said.
Environmentalists disagree, saying PowerSouth created its own problems by continuing to use outdated technologies and dumping coal ash near the water. Read more.
Coal mines are coming back in some parts of Alabama. Industry observers say easing of regulations and a steady demand for coal overseas means more mining jobs. That’s welcome news in places like Brookwood in Tuscaloosa County, where coal is mined to produce steel. Read more.