Swamp more important than miners under Consent Order in Florida

A resolution supporting the TPM mine is on the agenda for the Charlton County Commission meeting, 6PM this Thursday, August 15, 2019, 68 Kingsland Drive, Folkston, GA. Especially if you live in Charlston County, please go to that meeting and object. Even better, contact your County Commissioner before the meeting.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper op-ed 2019-08-13]
Suwannee Riverkeeper op-ed 2019-08-13

Suwannee Riverkeeper op-ed in the Charlton County Herald, yesterday, August 13, 2019:

Swamp more important than miners under Consent Order in Florida

Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) promises jobs, taxes, and low impact to mine for titanium between Moniac and St. George, on property that extends up to the Okefenokee NWR.

People from Baker, Bradford, and Union Counties, Florida, say they don’t know any locals who have the mine jobs promised by Chemours. The TPM application for Charlton County promises “projected employment of 150-200 people for 8 years” yet recent news stories say Twin Pines is now claiming 300 jobs. How many is it, from none to 300?

Meanwhile, TPM is under a Consent Order in Florida for multiple violations at Chemours mines, from not collecting data, to being over limits for radium and iron, to silt fences not containing wastewater and not cleaning it up.

That Consent Order includes the Chemours TrailRidge Mine near Starke, Florida. The miners have told multiple organizations they want to ship the ore to Starke, for processing. That’s in Bradford County, between the New River and the Santa Fe River, which flows into the Suwannee River.

During Hurricane Irma, the only pollution spills in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida (other than truck wrecks) were three from those same Chemours mines on Trail Ridge in Baker and Bradford Counties.

Do we need more risk of contamination in the Suwannee River Basin in Florida from Georgia ore?

Do we want to risk the Okefenokee Swamp, the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers?

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge supports far more jobs than the miners’ largest claims. People fish, boat, hike, and bird in the swamp to see its wide variety of animals and plants and lush landscapes, plus people hunt waterfowl that fly out of the swamp.

Profit for a few people is not worth risking all that.

This Thursday, the Charlton County Commission is considering a resolution in support of the mine. While we all understand the Commission wants jobs, there is no need to rush to prejudge this application in favor of the miners.

Please help urge the Commission not to pass that resolution.

At the July Commission Regular Session, we learned that the miners have not yet completed a hydrogeological study. Yet the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers clock is ticking towards a comment deadline of September 12th.

Please urge the Commission to ask the Corps of Engineers to require a hydrogeological study, a real Environmental Impact Statement, and an economic study.

To comment to the Corps yourself, or to request a public hearing, you can write to

Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District,

Attention: Ms. Holly Ross, 1104 North Westover Boulevard, Suite 9, Albany, Georgia, 31707,

or by email to holly.a.ross@usace.army.mil. Please refer to the applicant’s name and the application number in your comments: Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, 2100 Southbridge Parkway, Birmingham, Alabama 35209, Application Number: SAS-2018-00554.

For the requested state permit regarding Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, you can send a comment or request for public hearing to Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, Water Protection Branch, 7 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.

Tuesday at the county auditorium in Folkston and Wednesday at the fire station in St. George, you can come hear from the rest of us starting at 4PM, and from the miners at 5:30 PM.

John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper, with WWALS Watershed Coalition.

Much more here:

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!