Mark Lyons, Charlton County Herald, January 14, 2020, Letter to the Editor: Response to City of Folkston, Development Authority,
I read with curiosity the Letter to the Editor from the City Council of Folkston and the Charlton County Development Commission giving their endorsement and support of the Twin Pines mining proposal. That letter raises so many questions. Where did these two boards obtain their scientific data that the mining would not affect the swamp and the environment? Much of the information offered in their letter appears to have been spoon fed to them directly from Twin Pines. There was no mention of where they obtained the scientific data that rendered such a strong endorsement that the mining will not harm the swamp or the environment. The letter did not mention any consultants or scientist who were hired by either of these two entities to inform them there wouldn’t be any environmental damage from the mining. How many scientist sit on the city board or the development council? Did the boards hire or consult any scientist at all? What was the name of the consulting firm either the city or the development board hired to supply them the scientific data that the mining would not harm the swamp and environment? Where did the boards get their scientific data that gave them proof the mining would not harm the swamp and environment? Please, I would ask you to share such valuable data with the public.
Photo: Wayne Morgan for WWALS of Chemours mines in north Florida, looking west across Bradford County, on Southwings flight for Suwannee Riverkeeper, pilot Allen Nodorft, 2019-10-05.
How can anyone determine and say the mining will not affect the environment when Twin Pines itself has not submitted their hydrology studies/reports to anyone? Does the city or development board have copies of any hydrology studies/reports from Twin Pines? Because if they do, I will expediently be public record requesting copies of those. I have been requesting copies of hydrology studies and reports for months now to no avail. Hydrology is a big part of the environment and it’s a big part of this mining and it’s impossible to know if the Twin Pines mining will harm the environment or not because they have furnished no hydrology studies/reports. Let’s also not forget that Twin Pines is named in a Consent Order here in North Florida for destroying wetlands without permits. That’s environmental damage and law breaking to boot. I wonder if they told Bradford County Fl officials they wouldn’t harm the environment there?
In the letter it stated “We trust the experts at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure the mining project is safe and protective of the Okefenokee.” My goodness, where do I start. The US Army Corps issues permits. The 2 permits the Army Corps will issue for this project protect nothing. The two permits 401 & 404 (if issued) will be to DESTROY WETLANDS on the mining site with the ‘promise’ to reconstruct them during reclamation years down the road and the other permit will be to DISCHARGE WASTEWATER from the mine that will flow to the St. Mary’s River. These two permits protect very little of the environment. Turning a wetland that took millions of years to form upside down to mine and then trying to put it back to function like it did before it was mined is like de-boning a live chicken and then telling it to get up and walk around. If the city & development boards want to put their trust and confidence in an agency that actually protects the environment they should seriously consider listening to what the US EPA has already said about this project. The agency that is responsible for laws like the Clean Water & Clean Air Acts and responsible for environmental protection. The agency that just recently released another statement concerning Twin Pines mining proposal that said- “U.S. EPA still finds that “the proposed project will have a substantial and unacceptable impact on aquatic resources of national importance.” (The Okefenokee Swamp)
Baker County, FL
Map of Twin Pines proposed mine site and extended property next to Okefenokee NWR, by Georgia Conservancy.
You can send in your own letter to the editor:
to submit a letter to the editor!
Help Suwannee Riverkeeper save the Okefenokee Swamp
You can object to a titanium strip mine proposed far too near the Swamp.
GA-EPD had a public comment period open until March 20, 2023 on the Twin Pines Minerals Mining Land Use Plan.
You can still send a comment to the addreseses below, even though the comment period is over. You can comment from anywhere: not limited to Georgia.
You can email or paper mail your comments, or join one of two zoom webinars.
Land Protection Branch,
4244 International Parkway,
Atlanta Tradeport- Suite 104,
Atlanta, Georgia 30354
Zoom Meeting Registration February 21 or 23, 2023
You can write to your Georgia state representative or senator or governor or lieutenant governor and ask them to refuse any such instrument.
Here's a convenient comment form by Georgia Water Coalition:
Or 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 003 Senator Mike Hodges (R-Brunswick), (404) 463-1309, (912) 464-1989, firstname.lastname@example.org (Charlton, Brantley, and east half of Ware Counties).
- District 008, Senator Russ Goodman (R-Homerville), (404) 463-1318, 912-218-0447, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, (Lowndes, Lanier, Echols, Clinch, Atkinson, and west half of Ware Counties).
These are the Georgia state Representatives with districts most involved:
- 174, John Corbett, R - Lake Park, (404) 656-5105, email@example.com, Charlton, Brantley, south half of Ware, Clinch, Echols, east third of Lowndes Counties.
- 180, Steven Sainz, R - Woodbine, (404) 657-1803, firstname.lastname@example.org, Camden and part of Glynn Counties: no Suwannee River Basin Counties after recent redistricting.
- 176, James Burchett, R - Waycross, 404-656-5105, Suite 1318, email@example.com, southwest Coffee, Atkinson, Lanier, and northeast Lowndes Counties
- 177, Dexter Sharper, D - Valdosta, 404.656.0126, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 former 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, email@example.com
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or write to your local newspaper.
You can also contact radio, TV, and of course post on social media.
All about that proposed TPM titanium mine next to the Okefenokee Swamp:
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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