December 16, 2020 (PDF)
To: David Perdue
Lauren “Bubba” McDonald
Re: What will runoff candidates do to stop the proposed strip mine next to the Okefenokee Swamp?
Dear candidates in the Georgia runoff elections for U.S. Senate and Public Service Commission,
A company from Alabama, Twin Pines Minerals LLC, proposes to strip-mine for titanium dioxide for paint within a few miles of the Okefenokee Swamp.
Twin Pines is under a Florida Consent Order for titanium mines in north Florida.
Its president was a proponent of the Franklin County, Georgia, biomass plant that caused a massive fish kill. The state had to pass a law to stop it from burning railroad ties. https://wwals.net/?p=53931
Photo: Franklin County Citizen Leader, 2020-10-09, Dead fish in Indian Creek, Franklin County, Georgia.
The miners have promised jobs, from 150 to 300, with no specifics. And at what cost?
A sign at I-75 Exit 16 for Valdosta says: “Okefenokee Swamp… 62 Miles.”
The Swamp is an internationally-known treasure that contributes 700 jobs and some $60 million through boating, fishing, and birding in the National Wildlife Refuge, and hunting on nearby private land. The Swamp is the headwaters of the St. Marys and Suwannee Rivers. It exchanges water with the Floridan Aquifer, from which we all drink in south Georgia and north Florida.
In November 2019 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service replied to Senator Purdue, saying the mine progressing northwards would end up within 400 feet of the Swamp, and “It is the responsibility of the permit applicant to demonstrate what the extent of impacts of the project will be to surrounding natural resources.” https://wwals.net/?p=52533
The miners have not shouldered that responsibility, as each of you saw in my letter to Governor BrianKemp, asking the state to stop the mine. https://wwals.net/?p=54187
According to the Washington Post and the Brunswick News, Sen. Perdue accepted campaign contributions from the miners’ lobbyists, and his staffers met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shortly before the Corps abdicated oversight. https://tinyurl.com/y6yypbft https://tinyurl.com/ydb2vee3
I ask all the runoff candidates:
What will you do to stop this proposed strip mine far too near the Okefenokee Swamp?
For the rivers and the aquifer,
John S. Quarterman
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632
WWALS is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity est. June 2012
WWALS Watershed Coalition advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities.
Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® is a program and a paid staff position of WWALS.