Letter: Proposed strip mine would contaminate water
originally posted on December 8, 2016
The people of Claiborne County are facing another assault on keeping the water clean in their communities and free of the toxic contaminants that would come from a proposed strip mine. The Kopper Glo company proposes to strip mine approximately 1,496 acres along Cooper Ridge and build as many as 25 sediment ponds. This would be among the largest strip mines in Tennessee, bringing with it deadly heavy metals discharged into streams, carcinogenic dust particles blown into the air from the mine and the trucks hauling this coal. The long-term effects on water by the toxins concentrated in these poisonous sediment ponds, which often leak, will still remain when the owners of Kopper Glo, the coal and the few low-paying jobs are gone.
A public hearing has been announced for this strip mine on Cooper Ridge on Dec. 20 at the Knoxville field office of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, which is at 3711 Middlebrook Pike, 865-594-6035. Why not have a hearing in a community near this proposed mine?
Reports from independent sources over the years have found consistent results on people’s health concerning these mountaintop removal sites. These sites discharge what are determined to be safe amounts of poisons into streams, and extremely abnormal rates of cancers and birth defects begin showing up in folks living nearby. Mothers drinking water from wells their parents used may unknowingly sicken their babies because the water has become contaminated with mine waste. Destroying our state’s drinking water and culture does not make for a stronger Tennessee. If it is so safe to release these poisons into the water and air, why don’t any of those Kopper Glo owners live close to this proposed mine site and draw their water from the nearby streams?