Re-opening a Blount County strip mine is met with opposition

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Hundreds of Blount County homeowners turned out Tuesday night to protest the proposed re-opening of an abandoned mine. 
The Rosa Mine site was used for strip-mining in the 60's and 70's, but was abandoned decades ago. Now MCoal, a Canadian company, has applied for a permit with the state to re-open part of the mine to extract coal once thought too expensive to retrieve. 
Neighbors in the small community 5 miles north of Oneonta oppose the project, saying it could pollute the air, contaminate drinking water sources and natural habitats like the Locust Fork River, and say coal trucks coming from the site could damage roads and degrade property values. 
MCoal says it won't pollute the area and in fact, company officials believe when they're done, they will leave the area's environment in better shape than it currently is because of updated state and federal mining laws. 
But hundreds who came to a public forum hosted by the State Surface Mining Commission Tuesday night say they don't believe those claims. 
State officials took no action Tuesday and said they will take what they learned from the public and use it in making their decision on whether to grant the permit. It could be weeks or months before the final decision is made.