Comment now: TPM mine drains to Okefenokee Swamp, Rivers Styx, St. Marys, Suwannee, Georgia and Florida 2020-04-10

Comment by this Monday, April 13, 2020, if you don’t want any of these creeks, rivers, or the Okefenokee Swamp affected by this strip mine, or the Floridan Aquifer, in Georgia or in Florida.

The Twin Pines Minerals strip mine site drains west from Trail Ridge into the River Styx, into the Okefenokee Swamp, and to the St. Marys River, which becomes the border between Georgia and Florida. On the east, it drains into Boone Creek and into the St. Marys River. If it affects the Swamp, it will affect the Suwannee River, which runs through Georgia and Florida to the Gulf of Mexico.

[River Styx]
River Styx

Please go ahead and tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers why you don’t want this strip mine near the Swamp.

You can also ask for an extension of the public comment deadline, and for public hearings in Georgia and Florida. Here is the Suwannee Riverkeeper extension and hearings request for WWALS.

The Rule the Corps is following for comments says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can require any other affected state to comment. So you can ask EPA to ask Florida to comment. Here is our request for that. Here’s a simple version you can use:

[Your Name or Your Organization Name] requests the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pursuant to 33 CFR § 325.2, (b), regarding permit application SAS-2018-0054 to determine that the mining activities of the subject Application may affect the quality of the waters of the state of Florida and to notify the state of Florida, the district engineer, and the applicant that Florida ‘has 60 days from receipt of EPA’s notice to determine if the proposed discharge will affect the quality of its waters so as to violate any water quality requirement in such state, to notify EPA and the district engineer in writing of its objection to permit issuance, and to request a public hearing.’

The inset map is from Figure 66 in the TPM application. TPM didn’t label the waterways, but that’s the River Styx where it says MSW-1, and Boone Creek where it says MSW-4. Both lead to the St. Marys River, which becomes the Georgia-Florida state line. The River Styx joins the St. Marys in the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee River.

[Surface Water Monitoring Location Map in SAS-2018-00554]
Surface Water Monitoring Location Map in SAS-2018-00554

As you can see, the River Styx joins the St. Marys River in the Okefenokee Swamp, and the St. Marys soon becomes the Georgia-Florida state line.

[River Styx Context]
River Styx Context

Boone Creek

All those creeks on the east side of the TPM map flow into Boone Creek.

[Boone Creek]
Boone Creek

And Boone Creek joins the St. Marys River where it is the border between Georgia and Florida.

[Boone Creek Context]
Boone Creek Context

Suwannee River

Anything that affects the water level or composition of the Okefenokee Swamp affects the Suwannee River, whose headwaters are in the Swamp.

[Suwannee River]
Suwannee River

The Suwannee River flows through Georgia and Florida to the Gulf of Mexico.

[Suwannee River Basin]
Suwannee River Basin

Underneath all these creeks and rivers is the Floridan Aquifer, which interchanges water with the Okefenokee Swamp. You don’t want that strip mine polluting the Aquifer, which is our principal source of water for drinking, industry, agriculture, do you?

Click on any of the above maps to get a bigger version. There are also copies of the maps on facebook.

The underlying maps come from the rather marvelous https://watershedmap.org/, by Andreas Groos.

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 003 Senator Sheila McNeil (R-Brunswick) (Brantley County), (404) 656-9644, 912.464.1989, sheila.mcneill@senate.ga.gov, info@mcneillforsenate.com With the new redistricting, District 3 will include all of Charlton County, including the mine site.
  • District 008, Senator Russ Goodman (R-Lake Park) (Lowndes, Lanier, Echols, Clinch, Cook, Brooks, and Thomas Counties), (404) 656-7454, 912-218-0447, russ.goodman@senate.ga.gov, rustingoodman@gmail.com With the new redistricting, Senate District 8 no longer will include any of Charlton County, so not the mine site, but it will include the south and west parts of Ware County, so the Okefenokee Swamp west of the mine site.
  • 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. With the new redistricting, Senate District 7 goes away entirely, being absorbed by District 8 and District 3.

These are the Georgia state Representatives with districts most involved:

  • 174, John Corbett, R - Lake Park, 404-656-0213, john.corbett@house.ga.gov. District 174 district includes the mine site. With the new redistricting, it will also include the rest of Charlton County.
  • 180, Steven Sainz, R - Woodbine, 404.656.0177, steven.sainz@house.ga.gov, Charlton and Ware Counties. With the new redistricting, District 180 will not include any of Charlton County; only Camden County and a bit of Glynn County.
  • 176, James Burchett, R - Waycross, 404.656.0188, james.burchett@house.ga.gov, Lowndes, Lanier, Atkinson, and Ware Counties. With the new redistricting, also a bit of Coffee County.
  • 177, Dexter Sharper, D - Valdosta, 404.656.0126, dexter.sharper@house.ga.gov, Lowndes County. Valdosta is the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida.

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.

For much more about this bad mining idea, see:
wwals.net/pictures/2019-07-12–tpm-usace/.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

4 thoughts on “Comment now: TPM mine drains to Okefenokee Swamp, Rivers Styx, St. Marys, Suwannee, Georgia and Florida 2020-04-10

  1. Lisa Branda

    This is a travesty. Clean water is more important than any other resource. Leave it alone.

Comments are closed.