Tag: Maxine mine
The acid coal mine drainage at Maxine Mine on the Locust Fork is ugly, with discordant orange, yellow, red and purple hues that contrast with verdant spring growth on adjacent riverbanks and bluffs.
Nearby residents of this Black Warrior River tributary in north Jefferson County, close to the community of Praco on Flat Top Road, call the abandoned mine “a mess,” a place devoid of fish and most other aquatic life and given a wide berth by boaters and swimmers. It’s where algae blooms proliferate in a slough rife with sediment washing from the mountain of mine waste that has accumulated since the early 1950s.
And it’s a site that made Alabama history May 7 when a federal judge ruled that its owner, Drummond Company, was in violation of the U.S. Clean Water Act for continuously polluting the Locust Fork with acid drainage. In a suit brought by nonprofit Black Warrior Riverkeeper, U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon issued a summary judgment against Drummond, dismissing the coal company’s assertion that the law does not apply to pollution from waste after mine operations ended.
It was the first time the federal act was used to successfully sue the owner of an abandoned mine for polluting an Alabama waterway. Read more.
The River ‘Flows Through My Veins:’ Voices From the Locust Fork Tributary of the Black Warrior River
U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon eventually will determine how Drummond Co. must keep its Maxine Mine from polluting the Locust Fork with acid mine drainage. Regardless of the method used, the cost almost certainly will run into the millions of dollars.
The size and complexity of the more than six-decade-old site would make stopping or treating pollution “very, very challenging” regardless of the method used, according to Dustin Morin, the inspector for the Alabama Department of Labor’s Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program.
The program administers the federal AML program and addresses the most dangerous problems resulting from coal mining that occurred before passage of the U.S. Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Read more.
Judge in Historic Ruling Says Drummond Violating Clean Water Act Because of Ongoing Discharge From Closed Mine
People who live on the Locust Fork near the Maxine mine say runoff from that long-closed site has ruined their boating and fishing, endangered their livelihoods and damaged their enjoyment of their homes.
Its for those people and many others who visit the river that the mine site needs to be cleaned up, said Black Warrior Riverkeeper staff attorney Eva Dillard.
“People live along the Locust Fork, they know about this site and worry about it every time they boat or fish on the river. They have to think about what that site generates and puts into the river, how it might affect their lives and their property values.”
In court documents, several people living along or near the Locust Fork registered objections to the pollution of the river from Maxine Mine. Here are some of their comments. Read more.