The miners finally responded to GA-EPD’s questions from April about more information for the five permit applications to strip mine titanium far too near the Okefenokee Swamp.
Checking today with Georgia Environmental Protection Division Deputy Director John Eunice, it will probably take several weeks for EPD’s Mining group to review the documents. If EPD finds documents or information still missing, they may ask Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, for more. When at some point EPD finds enough information to call it a complete application, they will announce a Public Hearing with a public comment period.
You can go ahead and ask GA-EPD to reject the permit applications,
or at least thoroughly evaluate them:
The miners’ recent documents contain plenty of reasons to reject the permits, including they say themselves they didn’t answer all the questions, and they keep sending maps including land owned by TIAA as part of their mine site after TIAA rejected that many months ago.
I’d say the miners themselves said their responses were incomplete in items 5 and 6 on page 12 of their Response to Comments:
Technical Response to Review Comments Provided by State Geologist & Supporting
Documents Comments by: James L. Kennedy, Ph.D., P.G.
Response: TPM responses to comments 5a through 5h will be submitted under separate cover upon completion of our revised groundwater model and additional laboratory leaching test.
Subsurface Continuity of Humate-Bearing Sands in the Surficial Aquifer, Trail Ridge,
Georgia Comments by: James L. Kennedy, Ph.D., P.G.
Response: TPM responses to comments 6a through 6c will be submitted under separate cover upon completion of our revised groundwater model.
Also, TPM is still sending GA-EPD maps showing TIAA land as part of TPM’s proposed mine site, long after TIAA said TPM had no permission for any use of TIAA land and TPM had to send a revised permit to GA-EPD.
If the miners’ excuse is they had those documents prepared before TIAA complained, I’m not impressed, and I don’t think GA-EPD should be. The miners have had more than a year since then to update their documents.
I think GA-EPD should stick to what it told the Army Corps back in 2019: “So substantial, so massive, so transformative is the effect to wetlands contemplated at the Twin Pines site that you no longer have in place the original wetland to be impacted.”
And the maps TPM keeps sending still show that even on its own land as the Fish and Wildlife Service wrote former Georgia U.S. Senator Perdue back in 2019: “Any additional mining that occurs within the 12,000-acre permit area would be closer to the refuge. The northwest boundary of the permit area is within a half mile from the refuge boundary and 400 feet from the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp.”
All these recent documents are on GA-EPD’s website:
Remember, in addition to being a world-renowned natural and recreation area that provides hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars to the economy in Georgia and Florida, the Okefenokee Swamp is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St Marys Rivers.
More than 85% of the Swamp’s waters drains into the Suwannee Riverk/, proceeding through south Georgia, across Florida, to the Gulf of Mexico.
White paint does not seem like a good reason to risk all that.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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