A large coalition of businesses and groups, plus tens of thousands of citizens, urge the University of Alabama System Trustees (UA) to stop the proposed Shepherd Bend Mine from polluting a major drinking water source for the greater Birmingham area.  

UA is the main owner of land and minerals at Shepherd Bend, site of a proposed coal mine on the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork in Walker County. The 1,773-acre strip mine would discharge wastewater at 29 proposed outfalls, including one 800 feet across the river from a Birmingham Water Works Board intake providing water to 200,000 people. Metals and sediment discharged from the mine would lead to decreased water quality and increased filtration fees for consumers. 

In 2007, UA requested coal mining proposals for this property. Facing public pressure and media coverage, UA has retreated to the oft-repeated statement, “The University has not been approached about leasing the land and has no current plans to lease or sell the land.” 

Our opposition will persist until UA promises they will never lease or sell land or minerals for mining at Shepherd Bend.

Letter to
Chancellor of the University of Alabama System Dr. Robert E. Witt
President of the University of Alabama Dr. Judy L. Bonner
President pro tempore of the Board of Trustees Karen P. Brooks
and 1 other
President ex officio of the Board of Trustees Robert J. Bentley
I just signed the following petition addressed to: University of Alabama System and its Board of Trustees.

Stop the Shepherd Bend Mine

Dear UA Leaders,

Our drinking water is being threatened. The proposed Shepherd Bend Mine would discharge wastewater into the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork only 800 feet from the Birmingham Water Works Board’s intake in Walker County which provides drinking water for 200,000 greater Birmingham-area citizens daily.

The Birmingham Water Works Board and top scientists from around the state and the nation have offered detailed information as to how the wastewater discharges from this mine would introduce toxic pollutants and sediment into the source of our drinking water, potentially leading to increased treatment costs for customers, decreased water quality, and health risks.

Countless citizens, businesses, and organizations have asked UA what its plans are as the major property owner at Shepherd Bend. UA’s oft-repeated response: “The University has not been approached about leasing the land and has no current plans to lease or sell the land” is evasive. UA must announce that it will never sell or lease its land or mineral rights at Shepherd Bend for coal mining so close to the water intake.