Tag Archives: John Corbett

Okefenokee webinar, resolutions, bills, Suwannee River paddle

This Thursday, join us online at noon by zoom for Okefenokee Swamp over proposed strip mine —Emily Floore, WWALS Webinar 2024-03-21.
https://wwals.net/?p=64219

This Saturday at 9AM, join us to see what we’re protecting, immediately downstream of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR), Suwannee River Wilderness Paddle, Griffis Fish Camp to Fargo 2024-03-23.
https://wwals.net/?p=64423

[Okefenokee webinar, resolutions, bills, Suwannee River paddle]
Okefenokee webinar, resolutions, bills, Suwannee River paddle

Meanwhile, things are heating up against the proposal by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC (TPM) to strip mine for titanium dioxide (TiO2) within three miles of the ONWR.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) issued Continue reading

Atkinson County, GA, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp against the strip mine 2024-03-14

Thanks to the Atkinson County Commissioners for passing this resolution unanimously Thursday evening. We will get a signed copy soon.

[Atkinson County Commission and Resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp against the Twin Pines Minerals Strip Mine]
Atkinson County Commission and Resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp against the Twin Pines Minerals Strip Mine

Shirley Kokidko, who lives in Pearson, the county seat, said a few words. I gave the shortest speech ever, “We could speak for half an hour. But if the Okefenokee Swamp isn’t worth protecting, what is?”

As they voted, they said things such as, “this would affect our fishing.”

A Commissioner sought me out in the parking lot afterwards to remark, “This is our heritage, our way of life.”

After Berrien County, plus the city of Nashville, this is the second county on the Alapaha River to pass such a resolution.

It is the fifth sixth such resolution in Georgia state Senate District 8, after Valdosta, Ware County and Waycross, Clinch, and Echols Counties. Maybe Senator Russ Goodman will be interested in that.

Berrien County and the city of Nashville are in Continue reading

Navigability in HB 1397 in GA House Natural Resources & Environment Quality Subcommittee 2024-02-26

Update 2024-03-08: A 19th-century navigable definition does not work for 21st-century river economies 2024-02-29.

I watched it so you don’t have to, Monday’s meeting of the Georgia Natural Resources & Environment Environmental Quality Subcommittee.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnl5fJP5ptM&t=1425s

The subcommittee is meeting again at 1PM today, February 28, 2024, with HB 1397 as the only thing on the agenda, and Rep. John Corbett again chairing.
https://www.house.ga.gov/Documents/Agendas/Natural%20Resources/January%2024,%202011%2027.pdf

See also the input I sent the legislators yesterday, Navigable stream additions to GA HB 1397 2024-02-27.

This is not a transcript. Except where I use quotation marks, it is a paraphrase of what I found to be the important points of the Monday subcommittee meeting.

[Rep. James Burchett, Navigability in HB 1397 in GA House Natural Resources & Environment Quality Subcommittee 2024-02-26]
Rep. James Burchett, Navigability in HB 1397 in GA House Natural Resources & Environment Quality Subcommittee 2024-02-26

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. James Burchett (District 176, Waycross) said he was concerned about people boating on oxbows and creeks onto private property, so the bill definitely did not include tributaries as navigable. He worries that currently the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR) is in a difficult position of having to decide matters of law.

Burchett said that he constructed the list Continue reading

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

Videos: Coal Ash meeting in Valdosta @ WWALS 2017-03-01

The Georgia legislature did nothing but appoint a study committee, but you can see why they should do more, in these WWALS videos of the coal ash meeting in Valdosta that was organized by Rev. Deacon Leeann Culbreath of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light (GIPL). Thanks to Rev. Floyd Rose for the venue at Academy of Excellence on Lee Street.

The Valdosta Daily Times covered this meeting, but did not mention the local landfill, which was a major topic of my presentation, as you can see in my slides. The Mayor of Valdosta disclaims any control over that landfill and the Lowndes County Commission expressed no interest. Nevermind both city and county governments have Continue reading

South Georgia meetings against coal ash in Tifton and Valdosta

Come learn about coal ash and bills in the Georgia legislature right now. Pile of coal ash Rev. Deacon Leeann Culbreath of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light (GIPL) has organized two meetings, in Tifton and Valdosta. WWALS will be speaking at each of these meetings.

When, Where, and Who

Continue reading

South Georgia state legislators and coal ash bills

Update 2017-02-23: Added contact information

Bills are before the Georgia legislature right now about disposing of leaking pools of toxic coal ash, and two members of the relevant committee are in south Georgia. Coal ash and landfills in Suwannee River Basin Five landfills in south Georgia already received coal ash from TVA several years ago, including the landfill in Lowndes County, which also received coal ash from Florida.

In south Georgia,

As you can see by this interactive map, Sam Watson’s District 172 includes the Tifton-Omega/Eldorado Rd landfill in Tift County, which is also in the Georgia Senate District 13 of Greg Kirk. Sen. Kirk’s district also has Crisp Co-US 41S Site 2 (Ph 4&5) MSWL (Crisp County) and Plant Crisp (Crisp County Power Commission) – Ash Pond, Warwick, Crisp County.

In Rep. Corbett’s District 174 are two landfills: Camden Co-SR110 MSWL (Camden County), and Chesser Island Road Landfill, Inc. MSWL (Charlton County). The Chesser Island Road Landfill is one of only six in the state that had told GA-EPD two weeks ago that it does plan to accept coal ash.

The Camden County landfill is also in GA Senate District 3, William T. Ligon, Jr. (Brunswick). The Charlton County landfill is also in GA Senate District 7, Tyler Harper, who also in his district Atkinson Co – SR 50 MSWL (Atkinson County) and Fitzgerald, Kiochee Church Rd, Ph.2 (Ben Hill County).

Rep. Corbett also represents the southeast part of Lowndes County, in which just outside Corbett’s district in Amy Carter’s District 175 is Advanced Disposal Services’ Evergreen Landfill, Inc., the one that has accepted coal ash before from TVA and JEA. That Lowndes County landfill is also in GA Senate District 8, Ellis Black. Sen. Black’s district also includes the Cook County Taylor Road landfill, which is also in House District 170, Penny Houston.

Only three landfills (and no coal ash ponds) are actually in WWALS watersheds (the Suwannee River Basin) in Georgia. They are: the Tifton-Omega/Eldorado Rd landfill in Tift County, Cook County Taylor Road landfill, and Advanced Disposal Services’ Evergreen Landfill, Inc. in Lowndes County. However, legislative districting leaves the same state legislators responsible for those landfills also responsible for others.

Here is contact information for all Georgia state legislators in the Suwannee River Basin:

Coal ash and landfills in Suwannee River Basin

The Bills

Three bills have been introduced this session to protect our communities from coal waste pollution:
  • HB 387 requires utilities to get the proper permits before discharging coal ash wastewater into Georgia’s waterways;
  • HB 388 ensures that landfills receiving coal ash have a good plan and take adequate precautions to prevent coal ash contamination;
  • SB 165 ensures that anyone who produces coal ash remains liable for that ash forever and that Georgians can take action against out of state producers if their water and communities are polluted

In order for these bills to pass this year, they must make it out of their respective chambers (House for HB 387/HB 388 and Senate for SB 165) by Crossover Day, March 3.

Disposing of Coal Ash

For why coal ash is a problem, see this fact sheet by Georgia Water Coalition (GWC).

It is the position of GWC, of which WWALS is a member, that these bills are what is needed. WWALS is a partner of GWC and agrees that these bills are better than the current situation. WWALS has the further position that we’d prefer no more coal ash in any landfills in our watersheds, and that those companies that produced this toxic waste be responsible for disposing of it safely on their own land at their own expense.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!