Category Archives: Phosphate

Okefenokee bills, Georgia legislature 2024-02-21

As crossover day approaches in the Georgia legislature, events are moving faster about the proposed strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

In addition to a mining prohibition bill that has been in the legislature since last year, now there is a fine, draft permits, and two new bills, for increased criminal penalties, and for a mining moratorium (with a big catch).

None of these are likely to stop this specific “demonstration” mine, but some of them could prevent any further such mines.

Crossover day is the day by which a bill has to have been passed by one house to get into the other house. It’s February 29 this year, Thursday of next week.

[Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge: 15 miles]
Okefenokee NationaGl Wildlife Refuge: 15 miles
Map courtesy Prof. Can Denizman and students, Valdosta State University.

Draft Permits

As previously mentioned, On February 9, 2024, GA-EPD published draft permits (surface mining, water withdrawal, and air quality). for the applications by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC (TPM) to strip mine for titanium dioxide (TiO2) within three miles of the Okefenokee Swamp, between Moniac and St. George, Georgia. You have until April 9 to comment, and there is a public online meeting on March 5.

Details here:
https://wwals.net/?p=64142

Consent Orders

Back in January, I was told by a former state legislator that these miners be very careful to avoid infractions, because they had a lot of money riding on their venture. A week later, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) issued a Consent Order on TPM, saying back in 2018 the miners had drilled soil samples without a professional geologist or engineer supervising, as required by state law, and they also failed to provide a letter of credit or a performance bond. TPM “voluntarily” agreed to pay a tiny fine of $20,000. For more details, see Russ Bynum, AP, 24 January 2024, Company seeking to mine near Okefenokee will pay $20,000 to settle environmental violation claims.

This is not the first time TPM has been under a Consent Order. Continue reading

Crossings under CR 6 by Nutrien Phosphate Mine 2023-06-10

An anonymous photographer sent these pictures of the Nutrien Phosphate Mine in Hamilton County digging under CR 6 east of Jasper, heading north towards the GA-FL line.

Remember, the same phosphate deposits continue north into Echols County, Georgia.

[Collage, Nutrien Phosphate Mine across CR 6]
Collage, Nutrien Phosphate Mine across CR 6

I don’t know quite where these pictures were taken. But if I had to guess, probably somewhere a bit east of where the label is for Nutrien Phosphate Mine on this SRWT map. Continue reading

Nutrien phosphate mine on the ground 2023-05-12

Update 2023-06-11: Crossings under CR 6 by Nutrien Phosphate Mine 2023-06-10.

A little birdie dropped these pictures, which were taken near Fivemile Still Road off of Woodpecker Route (CR 135), in Hamilton County, Florida, northeast of White Springs.

The locations are all less than a mile up Fivemile Still Road, which was closed above that.

[Inside the Nutrien phosphate mine, Hamilton County, Florida]
Inside the Nutrien phosphate mine, Hamilton County, Florida

Fivemile Still Road parallels Long Branch, which runs into the Suwannee River above Big Shoals Tract Launch.

Or did. Hard to say where Long Branch runs after all this mining. Continue reading

Rivers and mining: WWALS comments on Suwannee-Satilla Draft Regional Water Plan 2023-05-15

Sent yesterday as PDF, in response to the invitation to comment and before the May 24, 2023 meeting in Tifton of the Georgia Suwannee-Satilla Regional Water Planning Council.

[The WWALS letter and rivers and mines in and near the Suwannee River Basin]
The WWALS letter and rivers and mines in and near the Suwannee River Basin

May 15, 2023

To: Water Planning

Georgia Department of Natural Resources
water.planning@dnr.ga.gov

RE: WWALS Comments on SSRWPC Draft Regional Water Plan

Dear DNR,

Responding to your invitation to comment on the draft Regional Water Plans, I write to mention some omissions in the Suwannee-Satilla Regional Draft Water Plan of March 2023.

Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper wants you to get these Florida bills vetoed

Floridians, you can help protect our river, springs, and Floridan Aquifer!

Please use these convenient Waterkeepers Florida forms to ask Florida Governor DeSantis to veto three bad bills:

[Suwannee Riverkeeper wants you! Photo: Shirley Kokidko, Alapahoochee River 2022-07-09]
Suwannee Riverkeeper wants you! Photo: Shirley Kokidko, Alapahoochee River 2022-07-09

Don’t forget to sign the petition for a constitutional amendment referendum on Right to Clean and Healthy Waters:
https://www.floridarighttocleanwater.org/

Georgians and everybody else, you can still send a comment to GA-EPD opposing a titanium dioxide strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp:
twinpines.comment@dnr.ga.gov Continue reading

Veto Florida fertilizer preemption

Please ask the Florida Governor to veto the part of the budget bill that could end up with preemption of local fertilizer bans.

You can use this handy Waterkeepers Florida form to do that: https://waterkeepersflorida.good.do/stopthefertilizerpreemption/

[Veto fertilizer ban preemption]

Who would benefit by the bill? Phosphate mines.

As everyone knows, fertilizer nitrates leaching through the soil into our springs and rivers is the main cause of the algae blooms that crowd out native vegetation and starve fish and manatees in the Suwannee River Basin. The state’s Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) won’t solve that problem. Counties and cities can pass ordinances to address the problem, but not so easily the relevant part of this bill becomes law.

The relevant part of line item 146 of SB 2500 reads: Continue reading

Say NO to Radioactive Roads in Florida 2023-05-11

The Florida legislature has already passed a bill to allow spreading waste from phosphate mines on roads.

Those gypstacks at the White Springs Nutrien phosphate mine near the Suwannee River should not end up on roads, not in Hamilton County and not elsewhere.

[Say no to radioactive roads in Florida]
Say no to radioactive roads in Florida

Please urge Governor DeSantis to veto HB 1191/ SB 1258.

Here’s a handy form by Waterkeepers Florida so you can tailor your email to the governor:
https://waterkeepersflorida.good.do/saynotoradioactiveroads/HB1191-SB1258-VETO/

Here’s the bill, which also would legitimize use of coal ash in roads:
https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2023/1191

For more about phosphate mines, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/phosphate-mining/

About Waterkeepers Florida, of which Suwannee Riverkeeper is a member, see:
https://www.waterkeepersflorida.org/

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

No phosphate mine waste into recreational lakes, and more transparency –WWALS to Hamilton County BOCC 2023-04-17

You can send your own comments to the addresses in the WWALS letter. If you prefer to telephone, see https://hamiltoncountyfl.com/board-of-county-commissioners/.

The Public Hearing is tomorrow, Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at 6 PM, at 207 NE First Street Jasper, Florida 32052.

WWALS letter to Hamilton BOCC 2023-04-17

See also PDF.

[Letter and mine]
Letter and mine

Continue reading

More materials: Hamilton County Planning Commission on Nutrien phosphate mine permit renewal 2023-03-28

Update 2023-04-17: No phosphate mine waste into recreational lakes, and more transparency –WWALS to Hamilton County BOCC 2023-04-17.

See also, from five years ago: Pictures: PCS Phosphate mine permit Public Hearings, Jasper, FL 2018-01-23.

Here are 78 more documents related to the Public Hearing at 6 PM this Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at the Hamilton County Commission in Jasper, Florida, about Nutrien’s phosphate mining permit renewal.

[Mining location, reclamation, flow, and areas]
Mining location, reclamation, flow, and areas

These documents, from a USB stick I picked up from Hamilton County today, are in addition to the documents I posted yesterday.

Ordinarily I would read everything first and post some analysis, but in the interests of time, here are the documents. Continue reading

Hamilton County Planning Commission wants conditions on Nutrien phosphate mine permit renewal 2023-03-28

Update 2023-04-13: More materials: Hamilton County Planning Commission on Nutrien phosphate mine permit renewal 2023-03-28.

Update 2023-04-12: The County Commission meeting will be April 18th.

The Nutrien Phosphate Mine in Hamilton County, Florida, is up for renewal by the Hamilton Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, April 28 18, 2023, at 6 PM. There will be a Public Hearing. Since time to speak will be limited, best to send written comments in advance.

The renewal request has already been reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Board (PNZ), on March 28, 2023. PNZ recommends renewal with some conditions.

Private landowners, a number of whose property is inside the mine boundary, object that some of Nutrien’s plans for disposal of waste such as clay will adversely affect those landowners’ businesses as well as wildlife and waters.

Dennis J. Price, P.G., of Hamilton County filed a page of questions.

Bienville Outdoors filed a a request to find other options for settling areas.

Maybe you would like to comment on effects of this mine on the Suwannee River, Swift Creek, the Floridan Aquifer, or public health.

[Private landowners, Clay flows, aerial: Nutrien Phosphate Mine, Hamilton County, FL]
Private landowners, Clay flows, aerial: Nutrien Phosphate Mine, Hamilton County, FL

On the WWALS website are Continue reading