BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Drummond Co. Inc. must clean up an abandoned site and pay $3.65 million under an agreement approved by a federal judge in a lawsuit over environmental pollution in north Alabama.
The settlement, announced in a statement released Thursday by environmental groups, followed years of litigation over contamination of the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River, located north of Birmingham.
While the old Drummond site hasn't been mined since the 1980s, activists argued that discharges of acidic water, toxic metals and other contaminants were still getting into the water.
“People who swim, fish, paddle, and boat in the Locust Fork and the Black Warrior River downstream and all the fish, turtles, mussels, and other wildlife are way overdue for this old coal mine cleanup,” Nelson Brooke of Black Warrior Riverkeeper said in a statement.
Besides cleaning up the site of its old Maxine Mine, an underground coal operation, Drummond must pay $2.65 million in court costs and $1 million to offset the effects of pollution on the around around the Locust Fork under an order issued Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon.
The privately held Drummond, with offices in Birmingham, hasn't commented on the agreement, news outlets reported.