Category Archives: Economy

Okefenokee Swamp over proposed strip mine –Emily Floore, WWALS Webinar 2024-03-21

Emily Floore, St. Marys Riverkeeper, will give the third WWALS Webinar, about the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the St. Marys and Suwannee Rivers: why we protect it and the proposed strip mine that threatens it, as well as a recent Conservation Fund study.

This webinar will be by zoom, noon-1 PM, Thursday, March 21, 2024.

[Okefenokee Swamp over proposed strip mine --Emily Floore, WWALS Webinar]
Okefenokee Swamp over proposed strip mine –Emily Floore, WWALS Webinar

“WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper continue our work to protect the Okefenokee Swamp, 85% of which is in the Suwannee River Basin. We conduct outings for direct exposure, we have gotten city council and county commission resolutions passed, and we talk to Georgia state legislators, while expanding the issue into Florida. But the mine site is in the St. Marys River watershed. So I am very pleased that, since she’s been St. Marys Riverkeeper, Emily Floore has taken a strong position and action to support the Swamp and to oppose the mine,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

Register in advance with zoom for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrdOmtqzkpGt3UGEP7SDw6JJaAVAPt9d30 Continue reading

The Real Trash Problem is the Producers, and How to Stop It 2023-12-23

The Crying Indian was Italian, and that ad was paid for by the producers of single-use trash, to shift blame onto individuals. Here’s what can be done about that trash.

Sure people shouldn’t litter, but Anheuser-Busch and other beer makers, as well as Nestlé, Coca Cola, and Walmart, should stop making and selling disposable bottles and cans.

[Single-use trash, The fake Crying Indian, and what can be done about that]
Single-use trash, The fake Crying Indian, and what can be done about that

Fifty years ago those things had deposits on them, and people would collect them for the cash. That could be useful to a lot of people, and a lot more cleanups would happen. Sure, there was still trash back then, but not as much.

People still do in Hawaii and nine other states: California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Vermont, plus Guam. They don’t have nearly as big of a litter problem.

But Georgia or Florida do not have such container deposits. Maybe we should change that.

No, recycling will not solve this problem. There’s no market for plastic to recycle, and recycling has been pushed by big oil for years as an excuse to make more plastic throw-away containers. Laura Sullivan, NPR, 11 September 2020, How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled.

You’ve probably seen the famous ‘Crying Indian’ ad from 1971:

Crying Indian
A Keep America Beautiful advertisement by the Ad Council, which was launched in 1971. (Ad Council) – Original Credit: (HANDOUT)

Well, the “Indian” was Italian-American, and that ad was part of a campaign by the trash-producer front group Keep America Beautiful. Continue reading

Levy County sand mine proposal tabled until February 6 2023-12-05

Update 2024-01-16: SWFWMD ERP 43046299.000 for 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-04-19.

According to local citizens and WCJB 20 ABC TV, yesterday the Levy County Commission failed to decide on the proposed special exception, even though the meeting went on for more than six hours.

[Levy County Commission failed to decide if sand mine trucks could head for cows]
Levy County Commission failed to decide if sand mine trucks could head for cows

This is about the proposed Special Exception for the 3RT Sand Mine.

Next it will be back at the Levy County Board of County Commissioners, 9 AM, Tuesday, February 6, 2024, in the Levy County Government Center Auditorium, 310 School Street, Bronson, FL 32621.

Meanwhile, you can still Continue reading

Liquefied natural gas issue on Brightline railroad –Cecile Scofield in TCPalm 2023-11-12

Cecile Scofield got this op-ed into TCPalm, Sunday, November 13, 2023, “Liquefied natural gas issue on Brightline railroad”

According to a recent article, Brightline (Fortress Investment Group) is looking for land adjacent to existing tracks away from the St. Lucie River bridge in downtown Stuart. The property must also be able to support other development opportunities for Brightline.

In 2014, Florida East Coast Railway discussed moving liquefied natural gas on its network with the Federal Railroad Administration. On Sept. 24, 2014, AAF Holdings LLC filed an application with the Florida Development Finance Corp., for $1.75 billion in private activity bond financing for “All Aboard Florida.” About $440 million would be used to construct new track and rail between Cocoa and Orlando, the gateway to Tampa and the Panama Canal.

[Brightline Route to Disney World and Tampa Bay]
Brightline Route to Disney World and Tampa Bay

In November 2014, James Hertwig, former CEO of FECR, said he thought the laws would change where double-stacked 10,000-gallon liquefied natural gas international standards organization containers would run from South Florida to Jacksonville, creating a virtual rolling natural gas pipeline. However, the single-tracked St. Lucie River railroad bridge presented a problem. Constructing an LNG production facility in Stuart or north of Stuart could be a solution.

Continue reading

Sand Mine Special Exception Levy County Commission 2023-12-05

Update 2024-01-15: Meeting: Outstanding Florida Springs Basin Management Plans 2024-01-23.

It’s back: the proposed Special Exception for the 3RT Sand Mine.

This time it will be at the Levy County Board of County Commissioners, 9 AM, Tuesday, December 5, 2023, in the Levy County Government Center Auditorium, 310 School Street, Bronson, FL 32621.

[Cows, mining trucks, and Public Notice]
Cows, mining trucks, and Public Notice

Meanwhile, you can still sign on to this change.org opposition petition by Kim Wheeler:
https://www.change.org/p/no-special-exceptions-for-mining-in-rural-neighborhoods

And you can send written comments up to five days before the Public Hearing; see below.

The mine site is still in the springshed of Rainbow Springs.

You may not think that these are enough: Continue reading

Levy county sand mine petition 2023-08-11

Update 2023-11-07: Sand Mine Special Exception at Levy County Commission 2023-12-05.

Follow this link for the petition:

https://chng.it/kNchfFP5Kn

[Mining trucks and cows]
Mining trucks and cows

NO Special Exceptions for Mining in Rural Neighborhoods,

Started August 11, 2023, by Kim Wheeler

Why this petition matters

Currently, Levy County allows major mining in Agricultural/Rural Residential and Forestry/Rural Residential zoned areas of the county by ‘Special Exception’, which is a lengthy and cumbersome process for the county, and a great problem for the rural residents that might be impacted by such mining and the resulting traffic generated. Therefore, we are requesting that the major mining use no longer be allowed in Ag/RR and F/RR areas of the county. Existing mines would be ‘grandfathered’ in, but no new mines allowed. Mines would still be allowed in Industrial zoned areas. There are some 12-15 mines in the county now.

Hazards presented by mining include Continue reading

Chainsaw cleanup, Outings, Boat Ramps, Okefenokee Swamp –Suwannee Riverkeeper @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07

Update 2023-09-12: Clinch County Resolution against strip mine, for Okefenokee Swamp 2023-09-11.

In addition to its usual business of roads and taxes, the Clinch County Commission discussed with Suwannee Riverkeeper outings, boat ramps, and a proposed resolution against the strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

[Collage @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07]
Collage @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07

For the boat ramp, Clinch County can apply to the GA-DNR Recreational Trails Program, Nonmotorized. Andrew Schock, writing for the landowner, The Conservation Fund, sent a letter saying that among the half a dozen possibilities he favors Drawdy Mill Landing on Drawdy Mill Road, which is about half way between Griffis Fish Camp and Fargo Boat Ramp.

For the resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee River against the proposed strip mine, the Commissioners chose to take another month to read it thoroughly, with a vote next month, which should be 6PM, Monday, September 4, 2023. The resolutions already passed by other cities and counties, including the one passed last week by Echols County, are on the WWALS website. For more about that mine, see
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining

Thanks to Chairman Henry Moylan and the Commissioners for their hospitality, to Clinch County Administrator Jaclyn James for ongoing communications, and to WWALS member Etta Lee for talking to Commissioners and for being at the meeting; also for dinner.

Below are pictures, videos by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange of the relevant agenda item, and links to documents.

Here is a WWALS video playlist of the relevant LAKE videos.

For the entire meeting, see the LAKE blog post, Videos: Boat Ramps, Okefenokee Swamp, LMIG, Taxes @ Clinch County Commission 2023-08-07.

Continue reading

Proposed prohibition of mining in certain Levy County zones 2023-08-07

Update 2023-08-14: Levy county sand mine petition 2023-08-11.

Going for code changes to prohibit mining in relevant zones seems like a good tactic.

[Letter, Map to Rainbow Springs, Map to Suwannee River]
Letter, Map to Rainbow Springs, Map to Suwannee River

This is a cover letter for a packet of materials sent to the Levy County Commission.

I’m told the packet included the WWALS letter about Levy County 3RT Sand Mine is in Springshed of Rainbow Springs 2023-07-23.

Yaylisis Perera
3991 NE COUNTY ROAD 337
Bronson, FL 32621
yaylisisperera@gmail.com
08/07/2023

Levey County Board of County Commissioners

Subject: Serious Impact on Health and Well-being of Our Community Due to Proposed Mine in Residential Area and Prohibition of Mining in Ag/RR and F/RR.

Dear Levy County Board of County Commissioners,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to you as a deeply concerned citizen about the well-being and future of our beloved community. The purpose of this letter is to address an issue of utmost importance directly affecting the health and quality of life of those residing in this residential area.

Undoubtedly, the proposal to establish a mine in our community has caused unease and distress among residents. While economic development is vital for the progress of any locality, we cannot ignore the potentially devastating consequences it could have on the health of our fellow citizens.

Throughout this missive, I aim to Continue reading

Valdosta sewage spills bad for people, wildlife, economy –Suwannee Riverkeeper on WTXL.TV 2023-07-21

Update 2023-07-24: Redesignation as Recreational, Withlacoochee River, GA 37 to Tiger Creek 2023-07-19

Suwannee Riverkeeper about Valdosta sewage spills yesterday on WTXL.TV, “It’s bad for people, it’s bad for wild life, it’s also bad for the economy. Valdosta is trying to be a place for ecotourism, and you’re not really helping that if you have sewage spills, if you have trash in the creeks and rivers,” [John S.] Quarterman said.

Come to Sugar Creek behind the Salty Snapper this morning at 9AM and hear more.

[Reporter, Suwannee Riverkeeper, Valdosta Utilities Director 2023-07-21]
Reporter, Suwannee Riverkeeper, Valdosta Utilities Director 2023-07-21

Ariel Schiller, ABC27 WTXL, July 21, 2023, City of Valdosta working to fix outdated sewer system, Continue reading

New Executive Director, One Valdosta Lowndes 2023-05-23

The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce, host of One Valdosta-Lowndes (OVL), invited WWALS to a reception for the new OVL Executive Director, Mary Beth Brownlee.

[OVL E.D. Mary Beth Brownlee]
OVL E.D. Mary Beth Brownlee

Mary Beth Brownlee was previously with Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

I congratulated her on her new appointment.

She agreed that Troupville River Camp is top of OVL’s project list. Continue reading