Enviro groups sue Drummond over clean water issues at Alabama coal mine

Conservation groups have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama against Drummond Co. for alleged violations at its Maxine Mine site, an abandoned underground coal mine located on the banks of the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River near Praco, Alabama.

The Southern Environmental Law Center said Sept. 1 that it, Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Public Justice filed the lawsuit to stop the continuous and unpermitted polluted discharges of acidic runoff and mine drainage into the Locust Fork and its tributaries.

“We cannot allow pollution at the Maxine Mine site to continue at the expense of the health of the Locust Fork, its tributaries, and groundwater,” said Barry Brock, Senior Attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “To protect downstream communities, wildlife and the recreational value of this important waterway, Drummond must take immediate and effective measures to stop the contaminated discharges at this site, once and for all.”

When mining operations at the Maxine Mine ceased, the group said an enormous pile of mining waste was left at the site, as well as sediment basins full of contaminated runoff. As a result, mining waste and acid mine drainage have been illegally discharging from the site into the Locust Fork and tributaries through surface water runoff and seeps from the underground mine for years.

To address the ongoing pollution and storage of coal mine waste on the Locust Fork, the groups are seeking removal of the mining waste, remediation and/or restoration of contaminated streams, and any other necessary measures by Drummond to stop the illegal discharges at the site.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.