DECATUR, Ala. - Members of the environmental group Warriors for Clean Water say they are nearing their goal of 5,000 signatures. They're circulating petitions calling for federal intervention regarding the pollution of Wheeler Lake on the Tennessee River. But now the group says they may have found something that will have even more of an impact than just signatures on a petition.
“And in the spring of the year there'd be 30 boats sitting right there on that stump bed fishing, and catching fish,” explains Ron Mixon as we stood near the Decatur Marina Wednesday afternoon. He adds, “But you can come out here all spring long and you won't see half a dozen boats out there."
Mixon says pollution has killed much of the aquatic life in the Wheeler Basin of the Tennessee River. He spent much of his career as a muscle diver in this area, but says the muscles were among the first species to die off.
“By federal definition, that's sewage,” he says, pointing toward the water. “You can't drink it, you can't swim in it and you can't eat the fist out of it. So it's ruined."
Warriors for Clean Water is collecting signatures on petitions asking for federal assistance in cleaning up the river. But Mixon says the public can do even more by visiting
“We need as many comments, from all ages on there, why they want their river back, because if we miss this opportunity it's not likely to come again,” Mixon says.
He says the public comments section on his website may be more important than the number of signatures on their petitions. He says this is where federal officials will be able to read how you and I describe how the pollution of the river has directly affected us.
Mixon says the petitions will be hand delivered to the Congressional Oversight Committee that is currently dealing with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. If you would like to add your comments or personal experiences to the petitions, CLICK HERE to be directed to the Warriors for Clean Water online petition.