Tag Archives: mining

Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash –WWALS to NCFRPC 2023-01-26

The meeting is 7PM tonight in Lake City, with remote participation options; see:
https://wwals.net/?p=60792


January 26, 2023

To: Scott Koons, E.D., North Central Florida Regional Planning Council

Re: Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash

Dear NCFRPC,

Thank you for the opportunity for public input.

I would like to bring to the attention of the Council three issues:

[Three topics for NCFRPC from WWALS 2023-01-26]
Three topics for NCFRPC from WWALS 2023-01-26

  1. Deadline January 31st for public comment on the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP), Continue reading

Agenda: North Central Florida Regional Planning Council 2023-01-26

Update 2023-01-26: Limit water withdrawals, strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta trash –WWALS to NCFRPC 2023-01-26.

Tonight I will ask them to take up Valdosta trash as an issue like they previously successfully took up Valdosta sewage.

I will ask them to oppose the proposed titanium strip mine and to support the Okefenokee Swamp, the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, and the Floridan Aquifer.

And I will ask them to ask SRWMD and SJRWMD to add a water budget and constraints on water withdrawals to the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP).

[When and Where NCFRPC 2023-01-26]
When and Where NCFRPC 2023-01-26

Now I am composing a letter to send them before the meeting. Continue reading

HPS II withdraws phosphate mining application from Bradford County, Florida 2023-01-19

After many years of massive opposition, HPS II Thursday withdrew its application for a phosphate mine “without the County taking any formal action on it.”

[Letter, Map]
Letter, Map

Union County, where HPS II also wanted to mine, rejected its application there, changed the Union County Comprehensive Plan to limit mining, and, with the assistance of Alachua County, maintained legal defense against the mine, until HPS II dropped its lawsuit last June.

So it seems safe to finally say the HPS II phosphate mine is dead.

Congratulations to all the opponents, especially Bradford Environmental Forum, Citizens Against Phosphate Mining, Sierra Club, and Our Santa Fe River (OSFR).

Suwannee Riverkeeper has opposed this mine since 2017, because it drains ito the New River and the Santa Fe River in the Suwannee River Basin, above the Floridan Aquifer. Update 2023-01-24: Added detail. Our opposition has included attending demonstrations, speaking at County Commission meetings in Union and Bradford Counties, writing letters to those Commissions, organizing Southwings small plane overflights of the mine site with opposition members from Union County and OSFR, publishing photographs from such overflights, attending coordination meetings as far away as Tampa, and attending nationwide meetings against phosphate mining. See https://wwals.net/issues/phosphate-mining/. In December 2018, the first official action of the newly-formed Waterkeepers Florida was a a Resolution Against Phosphate Mines in Florida.

HPS II withdrawing their rezoning application does raise questions about where phosphate miners will aim next. 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

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

Clean Rivers 2022-12-29

Update 2023-01-06: Bad Upstream: Little and Withlacoochee Rivers 2023-01-05.

WWALS tests for Thursday upstream and downstream, and Valdosta upstream tests for Wednesday agree: clean Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers.

There was some rain last night, but probably not enough to wash much contamination into the rivers.

So happy swimming, fishing, and boating for New Years!

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide, 2022-12-29]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide, 2022-12-29

Two pollution spills have been reported this week.

On Sunday, December 18, 2022 (reported more than a week later on December 27), Ashburn, Georgia, spilled 3,000 gallons of sewage from their MLK Lift Station into Ashburn Branch, which flows into the Little River. But that’s too little and too far upstream to affect the river. Ashburn’s excuse: power failure. Maybe they should invest in a backup generator.

On Monday, December 26, 2022, the Chemours Trail Ridge South Mine southeast of Starke, Florida, spilled some unknown amount of not exactly sure what, at the top edge of the Santa Fe River Basin. Their excuse? Cold weather.

More on those spills later in separate posts. Continue reading

Okefenokee Swamp watershed boundaries 2015-08-01

Where is the divide in the Okefenokee Swamp between the Suwannee and St. Marys River Basins?

Here are some more maps that do not resolve that question.

For better resolution, advice from a qualified hydrologist is needed.

For reaching the likely divide area by water or land, it appears there are no open paths. Which doesn’t mean it can’t be done, just that it would be difficult.

Meanwhile, you can help stop the proposed titanium strip mine far too near the Okefenokee Swamp:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium

[Basins and HUC10s, Okefenokee Swamp]
Basins and HUC10s, Okefenokee Swamp

Thanks to Mike Lusk, Manager of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR), for sending me the Water Resource Inventory and Assessment: Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, USFWS, August 2015.

It contains this interesting map of sub-basins of the Okefenokee Swamp, which shows 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

Geology in …the Real Florida ℠ – Big Shoals State Park –FGS 2022-11-17

WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter found in the November 2022 issue of FGS News and Research this article: Geology in …the Real Florida ℠ – Big Shoals State Park

[Upstream and Downstream, Big Shoals, Suwannee River, FGS]
Upstream and Downstream, Big Shoals, Suwannee River, FGS

Over a length of nearly 600 feet, the Suwannee River loses 10 feet of elevation. That’s 1 foot down for every 60 linear feet as one travels downriver. Though this may not sound like much, Continue reading

Figures and Tables from NORTH FLORIDA SOUTHEAST GEORGIA GROUNDWATER MODEL (NFSEG V1.1) 2019-08-01

Update 2022-11-16: Videos: North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan meeting @ SRWMD 2022-11-15.

This rather thorough model of the Floridan Aquifer and its relatives is meant to be support planning, but does not actually do that planning. Planning is the topic of the meeting this afternoon about the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP).

[Collage]
Collage, Figures and Tables from NORTH FLORIDA SOUTHEAST GEORGIA GROUNDWATER MODEL (NFSEG V1.1)

That’s also why we need Right to Clean Water in Florida.

The sentence I’ve bolded below from the Executive Summary is the most important thing about the North Florida-Southeast Georgia (NFSEG) regional groundwater flow model. Continue reading