Category Archives: Mining

Phosphate and titanium mining, water withdrawals, and trash @ NCFRPC 2023-01-26

The North Central Florida Regional Planning Council had several public speakers cram topics into their three minutes each.

[Phosphate and Titanium Mines, and Trash @ NCFRPC 2023-01-26]
Phosphate and Titanium Mines, and Trash @ NCFRPC 2023-01-26

Two directly-affected women and Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, a board member of Our Santa Fe River (OSFR), talked about the Cornerstone Crossings mega development on top of Clay Hole Creek and Cannon Creek confluence, a part of the Ichetucknee Trace, which is in the Southwest quadrant of I-75 and SR 47 Hwy interchange, due south of Lake City in Columbia County, Florida. Merillee wondered about the development’s water withdrawal permit, and how much PFAS it might unleash into the waterways and the underlying Floridan Aquifer. She displayed LiDAR maps she got from SRWMD that clearly show the Ichetucknee Trace. Continue reading

Keep tugging on the not-to-mine end of the Okefenokee rope –Dink Nesmith 2023-01-25

Yes, why not this? “Why not have a rural development strike force that can laser in on the Charlton counties of Georgia? With enough bright minds, willpower and sufficient investment, oxygen can be pumped into the gasping communities that are—for the most part—on life support.”

That would be way better than a strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, the headwaters of the Suwannee and St Marys Rivers, above the Floridan Aquifer, from which we all drink.

Dink Nesmith, Georgia Recorder, January 25, 2023, Okefenokee tug-o-war is long way from over,

[Protest and Dragline]
Protest and Dragline

The opposing sides are not barefoot on Jekyll Island’s beach, but there’s a definite line drawn in the sand. Feet are dug in, and muscles are straining. On one side is an Alabama mining company and its fleet of high-powered lobbyists. Pulling the other way are millions of nature-loving Georgians who want to thwart Twin Pines Minerals from strip-mining near the Okefenokee Swamp.

This tug-o-war has been off and on for years. First it was Continue reading

Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash –WWALS to NCFRPC 2023-01-26

The meeting is 7PM tonight in Lake City, with remote participation options; see:
https://wwals.net/?p=60792


January 26, 2023

To: Scott Koons, E.D., North Central Florida Regional Planning Council

Re: Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash

Dear NCFRPC,

Thank you for the opportunity for public input.

I would like to bring to the attention of the Council three issues:

[Three topics for NCFRPC from WWALS 2023-01-26]
Three topics for NCFRPC from WWALS 2023-01-26

  1. Deadline January 31st for public comment on the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP), Continue reading

Agenda: North Central Florida Regional Planning Council 2023-01-26

Update 2023-01-26: Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash –WWALS to NCFRPC 2023-01-26.

Tonight I will ask them to take up Valdosta trash as an issue like they previously successfully took up Valdosta sewage.

I will ask them to oppose the proposed titanium strip mine and to support the Okefenokee Swamp, the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, and the Floridan Aquifer.

And I will ask them to ask SRWMD and SJRWMD to add a water budget and constraints on water withdrawals to the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP).

[When and Where NCFRPC 2023-01-26]
When and Where NCFRPC 2023-01-26

Now I am composing a letter to send them before the meeting. Continue reading

HPS II withdraws phosphate mining application from Bradford County, Florida 2023-01-19

After many years of massive opposition, HPS II Thursday withdrew its application for a phosphate mine “without the County taking any formal action on it.”

[Letter, Map]
Letter, Map

Union County, where HPS II also wanted to mine, rejected its application there, changed the Union County Comprehensive Plan to limit mining, and, with the assistance of Alachua County, maintained legal defense against the mine, until HPS II dropped its lawsuit last June.

So it seems safe to finally say the HPS II phosphate mine is dead.

Congratulations to all the opponents, especially Bradford Environmental Forum, Citizens Against Phosphate Mining, Sierra Club, and Our Santa Fe River (OSFR).

Suwannee Riverkeeper has opposed this mine since 2017, because it drains ito the New River and the Santa Fe River in the Suwannee River Basin, above the Floridan Aquifer. Update 2023-01-24: Added detail. Our opposition has included attending demonstrations, speaking at County Commission meetings in Union and Bradford Counties, writing letters to those Commissions, organizing Southwings small plane overflights of the mine site with opposition members from Union County and OSFR, publishing photographs from such overflights, attending coordination meetings as far away as Tampa, and attending nationwide meetings against phosphate mining. See https://wwals.net/issues/phosphate-mining/. In December 2018, the first official action of the newly-formed Waterkeepers Florida was a a Resolution Against Phosphate Mines in Florida.

HPS II withdrawing their rezoning application does raise questions about where phosphate miners will aim next. Continue reading

Public Comment on land use plan for titanium strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp –GA-EPD 2023-01-19

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.

The comment deadline is 60 days after the notice of yesterday, so apparently Monday, March 20, 2023.

[Proposed Project Location, 2-MLUP-App-N-b-Modeling-the-Groundwater-Flow-System-on-Trail-Ridge-9-14-2021-Figs-Tables-and-Apps-0012]
Proposed Project Location, 2-MLUP-App-N-b-Modeling-the-Groundwater-Flow-System-on-Trail-Ridge-9-14-2021-Figs-Tables-and-Apps-0012

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: Continue reading

News again: Valdosta’s 2021 resolution against the strip mine proposed too near the Okefenokee Swamp 2023-01-01

Old news is new again.

You can help make this resolution and others affect the miners’ plans:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium

Terry Richards, Yahoo News and Valdosta Daily Times, January 1 2023, Valdosta on record opposing mining operation,

Jan. 1—VALDOSTA — More than a year ago the Valdosta City Council joined lawmakers across South Georgia opposing controversial mining plans near the Okefenokee Swamp.

At the time, the president of the mining company said he was not concerned about local resolutions like the one passed by Valdosta.

“The Valdosta City Council’s resolution has no impact on our plans whatsoever,” said Steve Ingle, president of Twin Pines Minerals, in a statement.

Valdosta City Council voted Nov. 11, 2021 to oppose Twin Pines’ plans to start a mining project near the Okefenokee Swamp, about 75 miles from Valdosta. The vote was 6-0.

[Dragline on TPM mine site 2022-09-27 and Valdosta City Council 2021-11-11]
Dragline on TPM mine site 2022-09-27 and Valdosta City Council 2021-11-11

Here is video of that vote and the text of the resolution.
https://wwals.net/?p=57073

Back to the story: Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2022-12-29

Update 2023-01-06: Bad Upstream: Little and Withlacoochee Rivers 2023-01-05.

WWALS tests for Thursday upstream and downstream, and Valdosta upstream tests for Wednesday agree: clean Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers.

There was some rain last night, but probably not enough to wash much contamination into the rivers.

So happy swimming, fishing, and boating for New Years!

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide, 2022-12-29]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide, 2022-12-29

Two pollution spills have been reported this week.

On Sunday, December 18, 2022 (reported more than a week later on December 27), Ashburn, Georgia, spilled 3,000 gallons of sewage from their MLK Lift Station into Ashburn Branch, which flows into the Little River. But that’s too little and too far upstream to affect the river. Ashburn’s excuse: power failure. Maybe they should invest in a backup generator.

On Monday, December 26, 2022, the Chemours Trail Ridge South Mine southeast of Starke, Florida, spilled some unknown amount of not exactly sure what, at the top edge of the Santa Fe River Basin. Their excuse? Cold weather.

More on those spills later in separate posts. Continue reading

Okefenokee Swamp watershed boundaries 2015-08-01

Where is the divide in the Okefenokee Swamp between the Suwannee and St. Marys River Basins?

Here are some more maps that do not resolve that question.

For better resolution, advice from a qualified hydrologist is needed.

For reaching the likely divide area by water or land, it appears there are no open paths. Which doesn’t mean it can’t be done, just that it would be difficult.

Meanwhile, you can help stop the proposed titanium strip mine far too near the Okefenokee Swamp:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium

[Basins and HUC10s, Okefenokee Swamp]
Basins and HUC10s, Okefenokee Swamp

Thanks to Mike Lusk, Manager of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR), for sending me the Water Resource Inventory and Assessment: Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, USFWS, August 2015.

It contains this interesting map of sub-basins of the Okefenokee Swamp, which shows Continue reading

Unacceptable risk to mine near the Okefenokee Swamp –U.S. Interior Secretary Haaland 2022-12-07

She finally said what she did not say when she toured the Okefenokee Swamp back in September.

You can also tell the state of Georgia to stop the proposed strip mine far too close to the Okefenokee Swamp, the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, above the Floridan Aquifer from which we all drink.

[Interior Secretary Haaland in the Okefenokee Swamp 2022-09-16 Photo: Shannon Estenoz and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]
Interior Secretary Haaland in the Okefenokee Swamp 2022-09-16 Photo: Shannon Estenoz and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Russ Bynam, AP in the AJC, 7 December 2022, Interior secretary: `Unacceptable’ to mine near famed swamp,

A member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet is urging Georgia officials to deny permits for a proposed mine near the edge of the famed Okefenokee Swamp and its vast wildlife refuge

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet is urging Georgia officials to deny permits for a proposed mine near the edge of the famed Okefenokee Swamp and its vast wildlife refuge, saying the plan poses “unacceptable risk” to the swamp’s fragile ecology.

“I write to express Continue reading