Tag Archives: Lynn Smith

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

Georgia legislature fails even to require notice on coal ash 2017-03-03

The coal ash bills didn’t even get out of the HNRE Committee, which instead appointed a study committee. You can ask your Georgia House members to get on that committee.

Peggy Riggins
Peggy Riggins Leslie Webb Riggins of No Ash At All in Valdosta 2017-03-01; photo by John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

Georgia Water Coalition, Press Release, 2 March 2017, Toxic Ash Dumping to remain secret; Georgia House Committee fails to vote on bills requiring community notification

Last year, Jesup residents found out that a landfill near their homes and wells leaked toxic metals found in coal ash into the soil and groundwater. The landfill company is proposing to make the landfill bigger and accept even more of the toxic waste.

“It felt like a punch in the gut,” said Peggy Riggins, Jesup resident. “We found out that toxins found in coal ash were underneath the landfill in our county. The government and the landfill knew for years before we were ever told. This is unacceptable. Our communities deserve to know about proposals to bring in toxic coal waste before its too late and has caused a problem.”

Mary Landers, SavannahNow, 2 March 2017, Lawmakers avoid public notice on coal ash dumping, Continue reading