Category Archives: Swamp

Radio: Full Wolf Moon Banks Lake, Mayor’s Paddle, Okefenokee

Monday morning at 8AM, Suwannee Riverkeeper will be on Scott James Talk 92.1 FM radio, about the Banks Lake Full Wolf Moon Paddle this Tuesday, the Mayor’s Paddle coming up in two weeks, and how you can ask the Georgia governor and other elected and appointed officials to stop a strip mine far too near the Okefenokee Swamp, and ask him to stop that wood pellet plant in Adel while you’re at it.

We’ll probably also talk about water trails, water quailty testing, and who knows what else.

[Last time, 2020-12-14]
Last time, 2020-12-14

When: 8 AM, Monday, January 25, 2021

Where: Talk 92.1 FM radio, Scott James drivetime show
https://talk921.com/

Listen: Over the air, or through the radio show’s own website, or through any of several online listening services.

Event: facebook

For more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see Continue reading

Okefenokee Flyover 2021-01-10

Yes, Twin Pines Minerals still has mining equipment on its site near GA 94, only a few miles from the Okefenokee Swamp. And yes, the land TPM owns still extends northwest to within a few hundred feet of the Swamp and a few thousand feet of the National Wildlife Refuge. Here are some context aerials, showing proximity to the Swamp, Moniac, St. George, and the Cherokee of Georgia Tribal Grounds.

[Twin Pines Minerals mine land, maps, Cherokee of Georgia Tribal Grounds]
Twin Pines Minerals mine land, maps, Cherokee of Georgia Tribal Grounds

You can help stop that strip mine for paint, by contacting the Georgia governor and other elected officials; see below for how.

Here’s a closeup of the current mine staging site: Continue reading

Okefenokee news in the Georgia runoff elections 2020-12-29

The mine and the Swamp and the Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs are in the news, in the Albany Herald, the Saporta Report, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, plus my op-ed last week in the Valdosta Daily Times.

You can also contact the governor, the runoff candidates, and other elected officials:
https://wwals.net/?p=54109#howtocomment

For why, see the Georgia Water Coalition Dirty Dozen.

[Mine, Swamp, River, Bird]
Mine, Swamp, River, Bird

So far, the only statement we’ve seen from any Georgia runoff candidate is in the AJC article:

Jenni Sweat, a spokeswoman for Perdue, said the office received regular updates on the Twin Pines project as they do with many other Corps projects. “This presents an economic development opportunity in rural Southeast Georgia that local officials support, and our office has monitored its status through the federal and state regulatory process,” said Sweat in a statement.

Let’s also hear from the other U.S. Senate candidates, Jon Ossoff, Kelly Loeffler, and Raphael Warnock. And let’s hear from candidates for Public Service Commission, Daniel Blackman, and Lauren Bubba McDonald. If nothing else, the miners will probably want more electric power for their mine site, so that makes it a PSC issue, too.

Albany Herald

Staff reports, Albany Herald, 29 December 2020, Environmental groups ask governor to stop mine near Okefenokee,

HAHIRA — Environmental groups, including the Suwannee Riverkeeper and the WWALS Watershed Coalition, have sent a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp asking him to stop the proposed titanium strip mine from being allowed within a few miles of the Okefenokee Swamp in south Georgia and north Florida.

The letter, which lays out evidence to support the groups’ request, states: Continue reading

Protecting our waters from a strip mine –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Valdosta Daily Times 2020-12-23

“Dear runoff candidates: What will you do to stop this proposed strip mine far too near the Okefenokee Swamp?”

You can also ask that question of those candidates and of the Georgia governor and other elected officials:
https://wwals.net/?p=54109#howtocomment

[Dateline, Op-ed]
Dateline, Op-ed

The op-ed in the Valdosta Daily Times of December 23, 2020, was slightly shortened. Below is what I sent, including links to references.

A company from Alabama, Twin Pines Minerals LLC, proposes to strip-mine for titanium dioxide for paint within a few miles of the Okefenokee Swamp. Twin Pines is under a Florida Consent Order for titanium mines in north Florida. Its president was a proponent of the Franklin County, Georgia, biomass plant that caused a massive fish kill. The state had to pass a law to stop it from burning railroad ties. https://wwals.net/?p=53931

The miners have promised jobs, from 150 to 300, with no specifics. And at what cost?

A sign at I-75 Exit 16 for Valdosta says: “Okefenokee Swamp… 62 Miles.” The Swamp is an internationally-known treasure that Continue reading

Please stop a strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp that threatens both Florida and Georgia –WKFL 2020-12-11

You, too, can do what all the Waterkeepers of Florida did, and ask the Governor of Georgia and other elected officials to stop that mine too near the Okefenokee:
https://wwals.net/?p=54109#howtocomment

And you can ask the runoff candidates for Senate and Public Service Commission, what’s your position on that mine and the Swamp? https://wwals.net/?p=54359

To: Governor Brian Kemp
   206 Washington Street
   Suite 203 State Capitol
   Atlanta, GA 30334
   (404) 656-1776
   brian.kemp@georgia.gov

Cc: Trey Kilpatrick, Chief of Staff
trey.kilpatrick@georgia.gov
Caylee Noggle, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations
caylee.noggle@georgia.gov
Bert Brantley, Deputy Chief of Staff, External Affairs
bert.brantley@georgia.gov

Re: Please stop a strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp that threatens both Florida and Georgia (PDF)

Dear Governor Kemp and staff,

[Map, letter, WKFL]
Map, letter, WKFL

On behalf of our respective organizations and our thousands of members, we are writing to express our concerns regarding the Twin Pines Minerals, LLC application number SAS-2018-00554-SP-HAR. Waterkeepers Florida is a regional entity composed of all 14 Waterkeeper organizations working in the State of Florida to protect and restore our water resources across over 45,000 square miles of watershed, which is home to over 15 million Floridians.

Georgia is all that stands between that titanium strip mine within a few miles of the Okefenokee Swamp, proposed by coal miners from Alabama. Part of the Okefenokee Swamp is in Florida, and the Swamp is the headwaters of both the St. Marys River, which forms part of the border between Georgia and Florida, and of the Suwannee River, which flows through Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. Thus if the mining activities of the applicant affect the Okefenokee, or the underlying Floridan Aquifer, they may affect the quality of the waters of the state of Florida. In addition, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge promises more economic benefit to Florida than any other NWR. https://tinyurl.com/y5dws8oa

Please direct the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to thoroughly examine the five state permit applications from Twin Pines Minerals, LLC (TPM). https://wwals.net/?p=54009 The evidence indicates DNR should reject those applications. At the least, an environmental review equivalent to an Environmental Impact Statement should be conducted, with public hearings and third-party review.

The 60,000 people who wrote to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers against that mine are still opposed, despite the Corps abdicating its oversight. https://wwals.net/?p=53867

For many reasons to reject permits for this mine, see Continue reading

Georgia Runoff Candidates: Position on strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp? 2020-12-16

December 16, 2020 (PDF)

To: David Perdue
Jon Ossof
Kelly Loeffler
Raphael Warnock
Lauren “Bubba” McDonald
Daniel Blackman

Re: What will runoff candidates do to stop the proposed strip mine next to the Okefenokee Swamp?

[Letter, Suwannee Riverkeeper, mine site, Okefenokee Swamp, fish kill]
Letter, Suwannee Riverkeeper, mine site, Okefenokee Swamp, fish kill

Dear candidates in the Georgia runoff elections for U.S. Senate and Public Service Commission,

A company from Alabama, Twin Pines Minerals LLC, proposes to strip-mine for titanium dioxide for paint within a few miles of the Okefenokee Swamp. Continue reading

Water Trails, Okefenokee, Pellet Plant, Songwriting Contest, Light Parade –Suwannee Riverkeeper on Steve Nichols Radio 2020-12-08

Always fun to be on the Steve Nichols radio show, 105.9 FM WVGA, especially when he just agreed to be the Master of Ceremonies for the 2021 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

You can ask Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to get GA-EPD to deny permits for a titanium strip mine far too close to the Okefenokee Swamp. While you’re at it, you can ask him to deny a permit for the Adel wood pellet plant. You’ll see our water trail signs popping up along the rivers and on the roadways, and we’re distributing the brochures. Don’t forget to come to the Solstice Light Parade at Banks Lake, Saturday, December 19, 2020, and the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Saturday, August 21, 2021 at the Turner Center Arts Park in Valdosta.

Here are WWALS videos.

Light Parade at Banks Lake, Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols radio 2020-12-08

Update 2020-12-10: video.

We’re proud to announce that Steve Nichols has accepted our invitation to be the Master of Ceremonies at the Fourth Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Saturday evening, August 2021, at the Turner Center Art Park in Valdosta, GA.
https://wwals.net/pictures/2021-08-21–songwriting/

He and I will talk about that on his radio show at 8:30 AM Tuesday, December 8, 2020, on 105.9 FM WVGA.

We’ll also discuss the WWALS Solstice Light Parade, Saturday, December 19, 2020, at Banks Lake, just west of Lakeland, GA.
https://wwals.net/pictures/2020-12-19–light-parade/

And how Georgia is all that stands between some strip miners from Alabama and the Okefenokee Swamp, and how you can help.
https://wwals.net/?p=54187

Suwannee Riverkeeper on Steve Nichols radio, 2020-10-06

WVGA FM says:

The top rated morning talk show in south Georgia, Steve Nichols offers both sides of every story from Berrien County to the Beltway, and everywhere in between.

When: 8:30 AM, Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Where: 105.9 FM WVGA

or the WVGA Live apps,
through ValdostaToday.com (link on front page),
on Alexa devices,
or you can stream in-studio video at the official Morning Drive Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/TheMorningDriveWithSteveNichols/ Continue reading

WWALS asks GA Gov. Kemp to stop strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp 2020-11-30

Everyone please ask Georgia to stop this strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

https://wwals.net/?p=54109#howtocomment

Here is what we wrote to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and staff.

Re: Mining permit applications too close to the Okefenokee Swamp

[Mine site, Okefenokee Swamp, TIAA land, TPM land]
Mine site, Okefenokee Swamp, TIAA land, TPM land

Copies will go to GA-EPD, to selected Georgia state and national elected officials, and to all statewide candidates in the Georgia runoff elections.

The Letter

See also PDF.

November 30, 2020

To: Governor Brian Kemp

Cc: Trey Kilpatrick, Chief of Staff
Caylee Noggle, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations
Bert Brantley, Deputy Chief of Staff, External Affairs

Dear Governor Kemp and staff,

Thank you again for being the first governor to visit Hahira since Jimmy Carter; it was good to speak with you there. Last year you sent a staff delegate to the Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) meeting. For the second year running, the Okefenokee Swamp is on GWC’s Dirty Dozen worst threats to Georgia waters, because of a threatened mine. https://wwals.net/?p=54109

Georgia is all that stands between a titanium strip mine within a few miles of the Okefenokee Swamp, proposed by coal miners from Alabama. Please direct the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to thoroughly examine the five state permit applications from Twin Pines Minerals, LLC (TPM). https://wwals.net/?p=54009 The evidence indicates DNR should reject those applications. At the least, an environmental review equivalent to an Environmental Impact Statement should be conducted.

Continue reading

Floyd’s Island, Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee River 2020-11-07

A little rain didn’t stop us on a fun two nights of camping and two days of paddling to and from Floyd’s Island in the Okefenokee NWR. Yes, the dozen of us saw gators, cormorants, and herons on the Suwannee River, the tree canopy over the run to Floyd’s Island, and deer on the island.

Thanks to Bobby McKenzie for leading this expedition, and to Shirley Kokidko for provoking it.

[banners, river, gator, canopy, island, deer]
banners, river, gator, canopy, island, deer

Also we saw Georgia River Network’s thirty paddlers coming in Sunday as we were going out, but my camera had run down by then. Here’s a picture of GRN E.D. Rena Ann Peck on the Friday before, in Moniac, GA.

Here are more pictures, also on the WWALS website.

Many paddlers posted pictures on facebook. Continue reading