Nobody said anything new about the titanium strip mine proposed near the Okefenokee Swamp, when the Board of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources met at the Stephen C. Foster State Park Eco-Lodge, just outside the Okefenokee Swamp, in Fargo, Georgia.
But you can tell Georgia legislators and candidates in the election
a majority of Georgians say the state should immediately protect the Swamp from mining, according to a recent poll.
Citizens were not allowed to speak to the Board.
But you can send them a message:
Floridians, you can write to GA-DNR, too, telling them part of the Okefenokee Swamp is in Florida, and anything that affects it will affect the Suwannee River of the Florida State Song.
Former Valdosta City Council member John Eunice, now Assistand Director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, basically recited what is on GA-EPD’s website. Since a judge threw the mining hot potato back from the Army Corps to GA-EPD, evaluation of the permit applications has resumed. A draft permit is expected any time now, and then a 60-day comment period will start. But you can send GA-EPD comments at any time.
Here’s a picture of the dragline the miners from Alabama, Twin Pines Minerals, LLC already have on their site. I took it on August 16th, when U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland visited the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge near Folkston. She has not yet made any statement against the mine, unlike her predecessor two decades ago, whose opposition stopped Dupont’s attempt to mine for titanium nearby. All for white paint. Sure, the miners say titanium dioxide has other uses, but mostly it’s used for whitening, so that’s just whitewash.
Roy Abbott, Mayor of Fargo, GA, had a speech about the mine in his pocket, but did not give it, apparently because he was asked not to.
He and many of the rest of us attending did speak to individual board members.
Also there were two of the people who organized opposition against the two biomass plants TPM president Steve Ingle started in north Georgia. They weren’t allowed to speak to the DNR Board, either.
I got some of the WWALS water trail brochures that GA-DNR paid for through a generous grant distributed to each board member’s seat before the meeting started, so maybe they will remember us.
This is the Suwannee River at Griffis Fish Camp, just downstream from the Refuge. Anything that changes the water level or affects the composition of the water in the Okefenokee Swamp will affect the Suwannee River, and the St Marys River. Strip mining within three miles of the Swamp would most likely do that. Please do what you can to stop that.
Come see the heart of the Okefenokee Swamp yourself, on the WWALS November 11-20 Floyd’s Island paddle and camp.
There are more pictures on the WWALS website.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®