Petition Closed
170
Supporters

Alabama’s Black Warrior River is recognized for its beauty, outstanding recreational opportunities, rare aquatic species, and as a major drinking water source for two of Alabama's largest cities. It is also home to 95 active coal mines -- the majority of Alabama’s coal mines.

Poor mining regulation allows muddy water, toxic metals, and acid mine drainage to pollute the river and clean water for hundreds of thousands of people.

Take action now:
Tell the Army Corps of Engineers to stop rubber-stamping mining permits and close permitting loopholes that let big polluters damage streams and wetlands without local citizens having an opportunity to voice their concerns about the impacts these mines have on water quality, public health, and the environment.

Letter to
U.S. Army Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp
Commander, Mobile U.S. Army Engineer District Colonel Steven Roemhildt
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo Ellen Darcy
and 3 others
Regional Administrator of US EPA Region 4 Gwen Keyes Fleming
Secretary of the Interior  Ken Salazar
Administrator of EPA Lisa P. Jackson
As a supporter of American Rivers, I urge the state of Alabama and federal agencies to close the Nationwide Permit 21 (NWP 21) loophole for polluters and make safeguarding clean water a priority.

Alabama's Black Warrior River is recognized for its beauty, outstanding recreational opportunities, abundant and rare aquatic species, and as a major drinking water source. The Black Warrior River watershed is also home to the majority of Alabama's coal mines. Poor mining regulation allows muddy water, toxic metals, and acid mine drainage to pollute the river.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to do a better job of protecting water resources in and around Alabama's large strip mines, many of which cover thousands of acres. The Army Corps' misguided use of NWP 21, compounded by insufficient regulatory oversight by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the Alabama Surface Mining Commission, is responsible for degradation of countless streams and wetlands in the watershed. NWP 21 allows coal mines to damage streams and wetlands without local citizens having an opportunity to voice their concerns and without due consideration of the cumulative impacts of these mines on water quality, public health, and the environment.

For all of these reasons, American Rivers has identified the Black Warrior River as one of America's Most Endangered RiversTM of 2011.

In addition to the Army Corps ending its use of NWP 21 in Alabama, I ask EPA to formally include Alabama in all Appalachian region guidance. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the Alabama Surface Mining Commission also must ensure that coal mining is conducted in a way that protects our health and that of the river, not the balance sheets of coal companies.

Proper enforcement of federal and state laws will help restore and protect clean water in the Black Warrior River. Thank you for considering my views and I look forward to your reply.