GA-EPD is providing more public comment opportunity than it has been promising for the past year. It has opened a comment period on Twin Pines Minerals Mining Land Use Plan, after which it will do what it previously promised: issue a draft permit and open a comment period on that.
You can object now to that titanium dioxide strip mine for white paint far too close to the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, and sits above the Floridan Aquifer from which we all drink in south Georgia and north Florida. You can email or paper mail your comments, or join one of two zoom webinars.
Land Protection Branch,
4244 International Parkway,
Atlanta Tradeport- Suite 104,
Atlanta, Georgia 30354
Zoom Meeting Registration February 21 or 23, 2023
The comment deadline is 60 days after the notice of yesterday, so apparently Monday, March 20, 2023.
The Twin Pines Minerals Draft Mining Land Use Plan and Associated Documents for Public Comment are on the GA-EPD website, and also on the WWALS website.
Here is the public notice:
GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION DIVISION
LAND PROTECTION BRANCH
January 19, 2023
STATE OF GEORGIA
COUNTY OF CHARLTON
NOTICE OF DRAFT MINING LAND USE PLAN
To All Interested Parties:
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (Division) announces an opportunity to provide comment on a draft Mining Land Use Plan (MLUP) submitted by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC. The facility will be located on State Route 94 (Parcel No. 00590001002 and 0058001), St. George, Georgia. The primary purpose of this MLUP identifies Twin Pines Minerals, LLC written proposal for accomplishing land use objectives on the permitted land in accordance with the O.C.G.A. § 12-4-72 Surface Mining Act and the Rules for Surface Mining 391-3-3.
The statute and rules require the MLUP to contain a specific plan of action, being based on sound engineering and conservation principles, for accomplishing the operator’s reclamation objective and for protection of adjacent watersheds from effects of erosion and siltation. In addition, where a mining site is to be located on lands or adjacent to lands containing natural or other resources which may be adversely affected by the mining operation, the mining operator shall include as an attachment to the Mining Land Use Plan, a plan to alleviate and/or mitigate adverse effects of such impacts. While all comments are welcome, the Division is specifically interested in comments to address whether the draft MLUP and supporting documents adequately meet these statutory and regulatory requirements.
The draft MLUP and all information used to develop the draft MLUP are available for review. This includes the application and all other relevant materials available to the permitting authority. This information is available for review at the office of the Land Protection Branch, 4244 International Parkway, Atlanta Tradeport- Suite 104, Atlanta, Georgia 30354. Copies of the draft MLUP and permit application are available through the Land Protection’s Branch public announcement site https://epd.georgia.gov/public-announcements-0/land-protection-branch-public-announcements or through the Twin Pines information site https://epd.georgia.gov/twin-pines.
If copies of files are desired, a copying machine for public use is provided by the Division at the Tradeport office. There will be a copying charge of $0.10 per page. Copies will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Files are currently available for review and copying from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm by appointment, excluding holidays. To make an appointment, email Tradeport.FileReview@dnr.ga.gov or call 404-362-2537.
The public may submit written comments concerning the draft MLUP. Persons wishing to comment on the draft MLUP are required to submit their comment, in writing, to the Division at the above address, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments must be received by the Division no later than 60 days after the date on which this notice is first published online. (Should the comment period end on a weekend or holiday, comments will be accepted up until the next working day.) The Division, in making its final decision to approve the MLUP, will review all comments received on or prior to that date.
The Division will also host two virtual public meetings to provide an opportunity for attendees to make verbal comments on the draft MLUP. A short presentation on the draft MLUP will precede each public meeting. Participants are asked to limit their comments to no more than 2 minutes.
The virtual public meetings will be held on February 21 and 23, 2023 at 6:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada), and will be conducted using Zoom, a free web-based video conferencing tool that also allows participation by phone (dial-in). Please be aware that the Zoom webinar format has a maximum attendance of 1,000 participants and there is a possibility that the meetings will reach capacity for both attendance and comments. Please register prior to the meeting you choose to attend to receive the link to the Zoom webinar. During registration, you will need to choose if you would like to make a verbal comment during the meeting. The Division will use the registration to call names for verbal statements during the meetings. If time allows participants that did not register to make a verbal comment will be invited to do so, and names will be called for the participants who raise their hand. If you are unable to attend either meeting, you may make a comment by following the instructions for written comments provided above. Additionally, the Division will make recordings of the meetings available on our website at https://epd.georgia.gov/twin-pines.
To ensure that you are ready to participate when the meeting begins, we recommend that you download Zoom in advance. More information on Zoom can be found here: https://zoom.us. Please note that if you choose to participate by phone, your number may be visible to other meeting attendees.
After the comment period has expired, the Division will review all comments, make any necessary changes, and make a final recommendation on the MLUP to the Director. The Division will create a written response to comments giving a summary of comments and responses and describe any changes made to the approved MLUP. Copies of the final MLUP, comments received, the Divisions response to comments, and any other relevant information will then be made available for public review from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm by appointment at the Tradeport office. A copy of the response to comments and the approved MLUP will be added to the Twin Pines Minerals, LLC webpage at https://epd.georgia.gov/twin-pines.
Once the MLUP is finalized, the Division will proceed with the draft permit process, including a public notice and comment period on the Surface Mining permit as well as any additional public comment periods for other required permits. These permits are for the proposed 773-acre demonstration mining area.
For additional information, contact the manager of the Surface Mining Unit by phone at 404-362-2537 or at the Tradeport address. Please refer to this notice when requesting information.
Remember, Twin Pines is the company that spilled wastewater from two Florida titanium mines, which were the only Florida pollution spills in the Suwannee River Basin during Hurricane Irma other than a couple of diesel spills from trucks. Yet Twin Pines claims it can retain all its wastewater next to the Okefenokee Swamp.
For more about this bad strip mine proposal, see:
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®