Hahira, GA, June 5, 2022 — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has reversed its October 2022 abdication of oversight over the proposed titanium strip mine site too near the Okefenokee Swamp. That puts Twin Pines Minerals back to re-applying for a USACE permit, in addition to its permit applications to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD).
This Friday, Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, issued a memorandum revoking the previous decision by USACE that said there were no Waters of the U.S. related to the proposed mine site. He said the Muscogee Creek Nation had not been properly consulted, despite their request for such consultation. Twin Pines Minerals must resubmit an application if they still want to mine there.
“The Okefenokee is a sacred natural resource. It is a wildlife refuge that must be protected,” said U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff, May 6, 2021. https://wwals.net/?p=55536
“Thanks to Georgia U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff for relentlessly pursuing protection of the Okefenokee Swamp, a one-of-a-kind treasure,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “We asked all four candidates in the previous Georgia U.S. Senate race for positions on this. Candidate Ossoff was already supportive then, and Senator Ossoff publicly voiced support May 6, 2021, in Valdosta, when I asked him.”
The miners have already said they will pursue their attempt to strip mine near this invaluable blackwater swamp, the largest east of the Mississippi.
“Thanks to everyone who has supported the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee and St Marys Rivers during this long permitting process,” added Suwannee Riverkeeper. “Special thanks to the Valdosta Mayor and Council for their resolution of September 11, 2021, supporting the Swamp and opposing the mine. This recent decision was one of the requests of that resolution.” https://wwals.net/?p=57073
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is the most economically valuable to each of Georgia and Florida of any NWR, plus the economic value of private hunting and fishing on lands nearby. Much more economic potential of the Swamp and the surrounding area remains to be tapped in ways that will conserve the Swamp and the Suwannee River even more than now.
People from Valdosta and farther away value the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee River that flows from it for boating, birding, fishing, swimming, and clean water. The many supporters of the Okefenokee Swamp will continue their advocacy until the mine is defeated, as was a similar attempt by Dupont two decades ago.
For more about the recent decision, including the memo from Sec. Connor and statements by Sen. Ossoff: https://wwals.net/?p=58619
About WWALS: Founded in June 2012, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity. WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the surface waters and groundwater of the Suwannee River Basin and Estuary, in south Georgia and north Florida, among them the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds, through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. Since December 2016, John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.
Contact: John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper