Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Students protest proposed strip mine

Correction: In the original version of this story, Mallory Flowers was incorrectly quoted as saying the strip mine land could be leased, not sold, by the University. She also did not say Birmingham Water Works supplies all of the drinking water to area surrounding the strip mine. The CW regrets the errors and is happy to set the record straight.

A group of students plan to rally today at 4 p.m. in front of Moody Music Building to protest a proposal to strip mine land near the Black Warrior River.

“The situation is that there is a proposed strip mine, and the company, Shepherd Bend LLC, is requesting that the University of Alabama lease some land to build it on,” Mallory Flowers, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering and one of the organizers of the rally, said. “The proposed location is 800 feet from Birmingham Water Works.”

Toxins such as manganese and iron that would result from this strip mine could contaminate the drinking water and cause potential health hazards to surrounding residents, Flowers said.

“I don’t want to see our school involved in something so volatile and harmful to the community,” she said. “The mine probably won’t go through without consent from UA, since they own the majority of the property where it would be installed.”

However, the University has not yet signed any contracts regarding a strip mine.

“The University has no current plans to lease the land for strip mining and has not been approached about leasing the land,” Assistant Vice President for University Relations Deborah Lane said.

Nevertheless, some students want more than verbal assurance that the land has not been mined off yet.

“We are asking the University to give us a written statement saying they won’t consider mining this land because of negative health effects to the community of Cordova,” Flowers said. “We want to show through the rally that students, alumni and the surrounding community don’t want our drinking water tainted by a strip mine.”

Originally, Flowers said she planned to hold the rally in front of the Bryant Conference Center, but was told she would have to move the event in order to accommodate other events occurring at the same time.

“With both a Board of Trustees meeting and a gubernatorial debate in that area of campus in the same timeframe, we could not accommodate a large group of people gathering at that site,” Lane said.

Therefore, Flowers said, she consulted with the other members of her group and decided to hold the rally elsewhere.

“The University asked us where we would like to relocate and said that the area located on the corner of University Boulevard and 2nd Street would be available for us,” Flowers said. “We were not required to submit an application for the new location.”

Lane said the University encourages students to voice their opinions on subjects they care about.

“We also strive to make sure they can do so in an environment that is safe for them, the campus community and our other guests and visitors,” she said.

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