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The Environmental Cost of the Clay Quarry
May 27, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pmFree
Clay, Alabama sits adjacent to Trussville – not far from the Birmingham metropolitan area – and is home to nearly 10,000 residents. Since Clay does not have its own zip code, residents have a Pinson, Alabama street address but Pinson itself is home to another 7,000 residents. The area is sometimes referred to as Clay-Pinson. Trussville is home to another 25,000 residents.
A local landowner is attempting to get hundreds of acres of unincorporated Jefferson County land rezoned for industrial mining for the purpose of limestone quarrying. At this time, it is believed that quarry activity would mainly impact Butler, Foster and Praytor Mountains. Unfortunately, the quarry is being tied to the Northern Beltline as a source for necessary aggregate when one does not necessitate the other – there is no shortage of aggregate in Alabama.
Clay has a great deal to protect from an environmental standpoint. It is the site of Jefferson County’s two highest peaks, both slated for destruction. This topography creates substantial runoff for source water and ground water, both of which help meet drinking water needs. The area is uniquely positioned in that it serves at least three watersheds including the Black Warrior, Cahaba and Coosa Rivers. Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, which supports over 130,000 recreational users each year, is less than 5 miles away while the headwaters to Turkey Creek are only .86 miles from Foster Mountain. Turkey Creek is also home to several endangered species. Emerald Lake (formerly Zamora) sits at the base of these mountains. This natural lake serves the lower Jade and Pittman Lakes. All three lakes are private fishing lakes and Emerald Lake alone provides habitat and food to over six protected migratory species.
Quarries threaten many aspects of an environment. Fugitive dust threatens air quality while blasting threatens migratory and indigenous wildlife. Chemicals used in limestone extraction threaten to contaminate water supplies, while the extraction process itself usurps considerable groundwater. The public health and safety of residents is threatened by not only fugitive dust and water contamination, but by industrial traffic in an already highly trafficked area. The quarry sites area are two short miles from at schools, daycares, a senior citizen facility, churches, and more.
Some quarries make sense but these quarries make none. Please join Sierra Club-Alabama Chapter in the struggle to keep quarry activity out of the Clay-Pinson area. Contact Vicki Carroll, Sierra Club’s “Clay Quarry Opposition Team Leader,” and offer to volunteer. Vicki can be reached at [email protected] or 205-593-1044.