Yes, Twin Pines Minerals still has mining equipment on its site near GA 94, only a few miles from the Okefenokee Swamp. And yes, the land TPM owns still extends northwest to within a few hundred feet of the Swamp and a few thousand feet of the National Wildlife Refuge. Here are some context aerials, showing proximity to the Swamp, Moniac, St. George, and the Cherokee of Georgia Tribal Grounds.
You can help stop that strip mine for paint, by contacting the Georgia governor and other elected officials; see below for how.
Here’s a closeup of the current mine staging site:
That’s just a tiny part of TPM’s holdings as Trail Ridge Land LLC, which extend from there way up towards the Swamp:
Here’s the view from above the northwest corner of that Trail Ridge Land, looking south, with the Swamp on the right:
The compass bearing (South in this case) is the direction the camera was facing. The latlong coordinates are the approximate position of the airplane.
From the air you can see from TPM’s current mine yard across the River Styx to the Swamp:
The current TPM mine yard and the west half of the Trail Ridge Land property drains west to the River Styx and the Swamp, and from there to the St Marys River and the Suwannee River:
Yet the U.S. Army Corps said there are no Waters of the U.S. near the mine site. Does that seem right to you? Maybe you’d like to ask the new U.S. Senators from Georgia to do something about it.
The River Styx itself runs through land owned by TIAA, the big New York State retirement fund. TPM claimed it had mining rights on TIAA land until TIAA objected. Would you expect these miners to respect your property rights?
Here’s the St Marys River flowing south west of Moniac, with Lacy’s Kountry Store visible in the center.
East of the mine site, here is the chip mill that has contracted with TPM for a processing location. You can see across it to the mine site, with the Swamp on the horizon.
A bit farther east is the Cherokee of Georgia Tribal Grounds:
Across the Tribal Grounds, the Chip Mill is easily visible, with the mine site past it, and the Swamp on the horizon.
Looking back from Florida, here’s St. George, the Tribal Grounds, and the Swamp on the horizon.
Here are a couple of views of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
W: Buzzards Roost Lake, Monkey Lake Canoe Shelter, with the Suwannee River on the horizon, 30.6793840, -82.1909650
Monkey Lake Canoe Shelter is as far as you can paddle south in the Okefenokee Swamp, and as close as you can paddle to the the Trail Ridge Land LLC parcels.
Here’s a wider-scale context map, on which the Monkey Lake Canoe Shelter is marked by the southmost paddle boat icon. The Suwannee Canal Boat Ramp is NNE of there, on the east edge of the Swamp.
From above the Suwannee Canal Boat Ramp, everything in this picture is in the Suwannee River Basin:
The pilot is braver than me: he flew out over the Swamp to get this perspective back east up the Suwannee Canal:
Remember, all this affects the entire region economically and via water:
The Okefenokee Swamp and the St Marys Rivers are important to the entire states of Georgia and Florida, the U.S., and the world.
Thanks to Southwings and their volunteer pilot Chris Carmel, who flew down from Ridgeland, South Carolina and took these pictures while flying the airplane.
There are more pictures on the WWALS website:
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, firstname.lastname@example.org. His district includes the Okefenokee Swamp, and he is the Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee.
- District 008, Senator Russ Goodman (R-Homerville) (Lowndes, Lanier, Echols, Clinch, Cook, Brooks, and Thomas Counties), 912-218-0447, email@example.com.
- District 003 Senator Sheila McNeil (R-Brunswick) (Brantley County), 912.464.1989, firstname.lastname@example.org
These are the Georgia state Representatives with districts most involved:
- 174, John Corbett, R – Lake Park, 404-656-0213, email@example.com. His district includes the mine site.
- 180, Steven Sainz, R – Woodbine, 404.656.0177, firstname.lastname@example.org, Charlton and Ware Counties
- 176, James Burchett, R – Waycross, 404.656.0188, email@example.com, Lowndes, Lanier, Atkinson, and Ware 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 reject this mine or at least require an EIS, like Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) already did.
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
The Army Corps public announcement of the miners’ re-application last spring says: “The applicant may also require assent from the State of Georgia, which may be in the form of a license, easement, lease, permit, or other appropriate instrument.”
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.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!