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