Shepherd Bend Mine, LLC, applied for the permit with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. The permit was granted in July 2008.
Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a non-profit citizens group that works to protect the Black Warrior and its tributaries, has opposed the permit on the grounds that the discharge could harm water quality, and alleges that ADEM attempted to evade public review of the permit, as required by state law.
Black Warrior Riverkeeper appealed the permit to EMC, which oversees ADEM. The Birmingham Water Works Board is also opposed to the Shepherd Bend Mine permit.