Protecting our waters from a strip mine –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Valdosta Daily Times 2020-12-23

“Dear runoff candidates: What will you do to stop this proposed strip mine far too near the Okefenokee Swamp?”

You can also ask that question of those candidates and of the Georgia governor and other elected officials:

[Dateline, Op-ed]
Dateline, Op-ed

The op-ed in the Valdosta Daily Times of December 23, 2020, was slightly shortened. Below is what I sent, including links to references.

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.

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 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.”

The miners have not shouldered that responsibility, as each of you saw in my letter to Governor Brian Kemp, asking the state to stop the mine.

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.

Dear runoff candidates: What will you do to stop this proposed strip mine far too near the Okefenokee Swamp?

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

See also:

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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