Tag Archives: Georgia Environmental Protection Division

Report: Conditions wanted on Morven Solar by Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-20

In front of a standing-room-only audience, and after long hesitation, the Brooks County Planning Commission voted 3-1 to recommend Conditional Approval for the Morven Solar project, pending “A Valid Road use Agreement put in-place” and “Erosion Measures provided and Filtration Plants in the Retention Ponds”.

Here is the report sent from the Planning Commission to the County Commission for its decision on February 6th. The report has some puzzling omissions.

[Meeting 2023-01-19, Recommendation 2023-01-20]
Meeting 2023-01-19, Recommendation 2023-01-20

Staff still recommends denial, and the included Staff Analysis is the same as provided before the Planning Commission meeting. 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

Forever chemical residue can even be in your house lot 2022-11-27

That house you bought may come with forever chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which can harm human (and wildlife) health in many ways.

Florida permits shipping sewage sludge from south Florida to north Florida for agricultural fertilizer. It’s not clear how prevalent the same practice is in Georgia. But from fields it can wash into waterways, and subdivisions may be built on fields that had sludge applied.

[Human health, house PFAS sources]
Human health, house PFAS sources

Marina Schauffler, The Main Monitor, November 27, 2022, Forever exposure, forever anxiety: Coping with the inescapable toxicity of PFAS: Found in water, air, soil, food, consumer products and work settings, “forever chemicals” pose risks to both physical health and mental well-being.

At the end of Joy Road in Fairfield, a steep dead-end road climbs a hillside to a scattering of homes with distant mountain views and some of the higher concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) the state has found to date in groundwater. The neighbors here live under what one resident, Nathan Saunders, called the “cloud of an unknown future,” fearing how PFAS exposure may erode their health.

Continue reading

Agenda: One item, Morven Solar @ Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19

Update 2023-01-18: Pictures: sites of Morven Solar 2023-01-18.

It may be a long meeting even with only one item, since Morven Solar seems to be contentious.

[Aerial Map of Morven Solar and Agenda, Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19]
Aerial Map of Morven Solar and Agenda, Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19

Here is the agenda, received in response to a WWALS open records request from Brooks County Zoning and Code Enforcement Agent Melissa Smith. Continue reading

Morven Solar rezoning proposed around Slaughter Creek, Little River @ Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19

Update 2023-01-18: Agenda: One item, Morven Solar @ Brooks County Planning Commission 2023-01-19.

A large solar project, in agricultural fields and pecan groves scattered around wetlands, will be heard by the Brooks County Planning Commission at 5:30 PM this Thursday, January 19, 2023, at 610 S Highland Road, Quitman, GA 31643.

[Morven Solar, Slaughter Creek, Withlacoochee River]
Morven Solar, Slaughter Creek, Withlacoochee River

Staff’s recommendation:

Due to the staff’s concern of the amount of “prime farmland”, the quantity of jurisdictional wetlands, the threatened and candidate species potential impacts, and the amount of access roads because the parcels are not contiguous (especially Peach Road — dirt), the Staff recommends DENIAL of the applicant’s proposed use as a Large-Scale Solar Energy System.

WWALS is generally in favor of solar power, but this project raises serious doubts, most of which are expressed in the Staff Analysis.

The final decision will be made by the Brooks County Commission, 5:00 PM, Monday, February 6, 2023, also at 610 S Highland Road, Quitman, GA 31643.

The project is between Morven and Hahira, straddling Slaughter Creek, upstream from the Little River. 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

Pictures: Barack Obama Blvd. @ Ricardo St. 2022-12-01

Much improved, the trash situation in the two-acre cypress swamp the City of Valdosta owns at Barack Obama Blvd. and Ricardo Street; the one with the Pepsi Adopt-A-Spot sign.

I now give Valdosta Stormwater an A- for upkeep of this tract.

Maybe if you report a trash or other problem through Valdosta’s Click ‘n’ Fix, maybe they’ll do something about that problem, too.

[Collage 202-12-01]
Collage 202-12-01

With this drought, the swamp is dry enough to walk right through the middle. There is occasional trash. 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

Video: Summary of water quality testing at Lowndes County Commission 2022-10-11

Most of the Lowndes County Commissioners were not familiar with the water quality testing WWALS is doing, and now they are.

[Summary of WWALS water quality testing @ LCC 2022-10-11]
Summary of WWALS water quality testing @ LCC 2022-10-11

Here’s the video: Continue reading

GA-DNR Board does not discuss mining near Okefenokee Swamp 2022-09-27

Nobody said anything new about the titanium strip mine proposed near the Okefenokee Swamp, when the Board of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources met at the Stephen C. Foster State Park Eco-Lodge, just outside the Okefenokee Swamp, in Fargo, Georgia.

But you can tell Georgia legislators and candidates in the election that a majority of Georgians say the state should immediately protect the Swamp from mining, according to a recent poll.
www.protectgeorgia.org/okefenokee

[DNR Board and Twin Pines dragline]
DNR Board and Twin Pines dragline

Citizens were not allowed to speak to the Board. But you can send them a message:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining/#howtocomment

Floridians, you can write to GA-DNR, too, telling them part of the Okefenokee Swamp is in Florida, and anything that affects it will affect the Suwannee River of the Florida State Song.
TwinPines.Comment@dnr.ga.gov

Former Valdosta City Council member John Eunice, now Assistand Director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, basically recited Continue reading