U.S. EPA still finds Twin Pines mine will have a substantial and unacceptable impact 2019-10-03

U.S. EPA still finds that “the proposed project will have a substantial and unacceptable impact on aquatic resources of national importance.”

That’s about “the permit application submitted by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC” for a titanium strip mine. “The proposed 2,414-acre mine area lies in proximity to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and the potential secondary effects of the mine on the NWR have not been demonstrated by the permit applicant.”

You, too, can still comment to the USACE, and all comments they receive before the Corps announces a decision can be used in any potential lawsuits.

[the proposed project will have a substantial and unacceptable impact on aquatic resources of national importance.]
the proposed project will have a substantial and unacceptable impact on aquatic resources of national importance.

The previous letter from EPA to USACE, of Sep 12 2019, was signed by “Director, Water Division” with the name redacted. Looking up online who that is, I called EPA Water Division Director Jeaneanne Gettle, who told me a second letter had gone out, but it did not say much beyond the first letter. Finally received after a FOIA request, here is the second letter, and indeed it just reiterates the first letter, because: “To date, the EPA has received no additional information from the Corps to address these concerns.”

WWALS maintains that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should reject the application, or, at the very least, require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) broad enough to cover the entire swamp and all the related mines in Georgia and Florida.

The EPA letter

Scans of the letter and the FOIA response cover letter are on the LAKE website, as well as a composite PDF of this letter.

UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
REGION 4
ATLANTA FEDERAL CENTER
FORSYTH STREET
ATLANTA, GEORGIA 30303-8960

OCT – 3 2019

Colonel Daniel H. Hibner, District Engineer
ATTN: Ms. Holly Ross
U.S. Army Corps of Engincers
Savannah District
100 W. Oglethorpe Avenue
Savannah, Georgia 31401-3640

Subject: SAS-2018-00554, Twin Pines Minerals, LLC heavy mineral sands mine in Charlton County, Georgia

Dear Colonel Hibner:

This letter is in reference to Public Notice (PN) SAS-2018-00554, for the permit application submitted by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC to directly impact 587 acres of wetlands and 7,112 linear feet of streams during the mining of heavy mineral sands in southern Charlton County, Georgia, The proposed 2,414-acre mine area lies in proximity to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and the potential secondary effects of the mine on the NWR have not been demonstrated by the permit applicant. The US. Environmental Protection Agency sent the Savannah District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) a letter regarding this PN on September 12, 2019, identifying concerns with respect to compliance with the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines set forth at 40 CFR Part 230. The letter outlined the EPA’s concerns and recommendations about the project’s potential impacts on freshwater wetlands located in the project area and potential secondary impacts to the adjacent Okefenokee NWR (sce enclosed letter).

To date, the EPA has received no additional information from the Corps to address these concerns. Based on the limited information made available, pursuant to Part IV, paragraph (3)(b) of the 1992 Clean Water Act Section 404(q) Memorandum of Agreement between the EPA and the Department of the Army, the EPA finds that the proposed project will have a substantial and unacceptable impact on aquatic resources of national importance.

The EPA appreciates the opportunity to comment on this proposed project and looks forward to working collaboratively to address identified concerns. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or have one of your technical staff contact Mr. Eric Somerville of my staff at (706) 355-8514 or somerville.eric@epa.gov. Thank you for the opportunity to review this project.

Sincerely,
[signed]
Mary S. Walker
Regional Administrator

Enclosure

cc: Mr. Mark Williams, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Dr. Donald Imm, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Far more information on this bad titanium mine application is here:
wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining/

How to Comment

Help Suwannee Riverkeeper save the Okefenokee Swamp
You can object to a titanium strip mine proposed far too near the Swamp.

Help Suwannee Riverkeeper Save the Okefenokee Swamp


You can write to your Georgia state representative or senator or governor or lieutenant governor and ask them to refuse any such instrument.
To find your legislator you can type in your ZIP code here: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

These are the Georgia state Senators with districts most involved with the Okefenokee Swamp:

  • District 007 Senator Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla) (Tift, Berrien, Irwin, Ben Hill, Coffee, Bacon, Atkinson, Ware, and Charlton Counties), (404) 463-5263, tyler.harper@senate.ga.gov. His district includes the Okefenokee Swamp, and he is the Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee.
  • District 008, Senator Ellis Black (R-Valdosta) (Lowndes, Lanier, Echols, Clinch, Cook, Brooks, and Thomas Counties), (404) 463-6597, (229) 559-7546, ellis.black@senate.ga.gov. Ellis Black is retiring.
    Russ Goodman won the election for this seat: 912-218-0447, rustingoodman@gmail.com.
  • District 003 Senator William T. Ligon, Jr. (R-Brunswick) (Brantley County), (404) 463-1383, (912) 261-2263, william.ligon@senate.ga.gov.

These are the Georgia state Representatives with districts most involved:

  • 174, John Corbett, R - Lake Park, 404-656-0213, john.corbett@house.ga.gov. His district includes the mine site.
  • 180, Steven Sainz, R - Woodbine, 404.656.0177, steven.sainz@house.ga.gov, Charlton and Ware Counties
  • 176, James Burchett, R - Waycross, 404.656.0188, james.burchett@house.ga.gov, Lowndes, Lanier, Atkinson, and Ware Counties
  • 177, Dexter Sharper, D - Valdosta, 404.656.0126, dexter.sharper@house.ga.gov, Lowndes County

You can also write to your U.S. Representative or Senator and ask them to urge the Corps to take back up its oversight of the mine site. See former letter from Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05).

For the requested Georgia state permit regarding Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, you can send a comment or request for public hearing to
Stephen Wiedl, Wetlands Unit, stephen.wiedl@dnr.ga.gov
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, Water Protection Branch, 7 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.
Be sure to mention Applicant: Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, Application Number: SAS-2018-00554.

For the Georgia Coastal Management Program certification, you can send a comment to
Federal Consistency Coordinator, Ecological Services Section, Coastal Resources Division,
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, One Conservation Way, Brunswick, Georgia 31523-9600
Telephone 912-264-7218.

You can also write to the Georgia DNR board, asking them to refuse any such instrument.
Georgia Board of Natural Resources
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SE, Suite 1252, Atlanta, GA 30334

To submit a letter to the editor of the Charlton County Herald, you can email editor@charltonherald.com.
Or write to your local newspaper.
You can also contact radio, TV, and of course post on social media.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

1 thought on “U.S. EPA still finds Twin Pines mine will have a substantial and unacceptable impact 2019-10-03

  1. Michael Moody

    There is no way this project can ignore the geology and the ground water that is the ‘key’ to the NWR existence. There are NO streams or watershed feeding the swamp.

    There are some places that just need to be left alone. The similar project in North Florida mining the ancient dunes are a great example of what can go wrong and will go wrong.

    Don’t waste anyone time trying to justify the need for this business over the future of a national and natural
    treasure.

Comments are closed.