Tag Archives: runoff

Okefenokee news in the Georgia runoff elections 2020-12-29

The mine and the Swamp and the Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs are in the news, in the Albany Herald, the Saporta Report, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, plus my op-ed last week in the Valdosta Daily Times.

You can also contact the governor, the runoff candidates, and other elected officials:
https://wwals.net/?p=54109#howtocomment

For why, see the Georgia Water Coalition Dirty Dozen.

[Mine, Swamp, River, Bird]
Mine, Swamp, River, Bird

So far, the only statement we’ve seen from any Georgia runoff candidate is in the AJC article:

Jenni Sweat, a spokeswoman for Perdue, said the office received regular updates on the Twin Pines project as they do with many other Corps projects. “This presents an economic development opportunity in rural Southeast Georgia that local officials support, and our office has monitored its status through the federal and state regulatory process,” said Sweat in a statement.

Let’s also hear from the other U.S. Senate candidates, Jon Ossoff, Kelly Loeffler, and Raphael Warnock. And let’s hear from candidates for Public Service Commission, Daniel Blackman, and Lauren Bubba McDonald. If nothing else, the miners will probably want more electric power for their mine site, so that makes it a PSC issue, too.

Albany Herald

Staff reports, Albany Herald, 29 December 2020, Environmental groups ask governor to stop mine near Okefenokee,

HAHIRA — Environmental groups, including the Suwannee Riverkeeper and the WWALS Watershed Coalition, have sent a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp asking him to stop the proposed titanium strip mine from being allowed within a few miles of the Okefenokee Swamp in south Georgia and north Florida.

The letter, which lays out evidence to support the groups’ request, states: Continue reading

Protecting our waters from a strip mine –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Valdosta Daily Times 2020-12-23

“Dear runoff candidates: What will you do to stop this proposed strip mine far too near the Okefenokee Swamp?”

You can also ask that question of those candidates and of the Georgia governor and other elected officials:
https://wwals.net/?p=54109#howtocomment

[Dateline, Op-ed]
Dateline, Op-ed

The op-ed in the Valdosta Daily Times of December 23, 2020, was slightly shortened. Below is what I sent, including links to references.

A company from Alabama, Twin Pines Minerals LLC, proposes to strip-mine for titanium dioxide for paint within a few miles of the Okefenokee Swamp. Twin Pines is under a Florida Consent Order for titanium mines in north Florida. Its president was a proponent of the Franklin County, Georgia, biomass plant that caused a massive fish kill. The state had to pass a law to stop it from burning railroad ties. https://wwals.net/?p=53931

The miners have promised jobs, from 150 to 300, with no specifics. And at what cost?

A sign at I-75 Exit 16 for Valdosta says: “Okefenokee Swamp… 62 Miles.” The Swamp is an internationally-known treasure that Continue reading

Please stop a strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp that threatens both Florida and Georgia –WKFL 2020-12-11

You, too, can do what all the Waterkeepers of Florida did, and ask the Governor of Georgia and other elected officials to stop that mine too near the Okefenokee:
https://wwals.net/?p=54109#howtocomment

And you can ask the runoff candidates for Senate and Public Service Commission, what’s your position on that mine and the Swamp? https://wwals.net/?p=54359

To: Governor Brian Kemp
   206 Washington Street
   Suite 203 State Capitol
   Atlanta, GA 30334
   (404) 656-1776
   brian.kemp@georgia.gov

Cc: Trey Kilpatrick, Chief of Staff
trey.kilpatrick@georgia.gov
Caylee Noggle, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations
caylee.noggle@georgia.gov
Bert Brantley, Deputy Chief of Staff, External Affairs
bert.brantley@georgia.gov

Re: Please stop a strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp that threatens both Florida and Georgia (PDF)

Dear Governor Kemp and staff,

[Map, letter, WKFL]
Map, letter, WKFL

On behalf of our respective organizations and our thousands of members, we are writing to express our concerns regarding the Twin Pines Minerals, LLC application number SAS-2018-00554-SP-HAR. Waterkeepers Florida is a regional entity composed of all 14 Waterkeeper organizations working in the State of Florida to protect and restore our water resources across over 45,000 square miles of watershed, which is home to over 15 million Floridians.

Georgia is all that stands between that titanium strip mine within a few miles of the Okefenokee Swamp, proposed by coal miners from Alabama. Part of the Okefenokee Swamp is in Florida, and the Swamp is the headwaters of both the St. Marys River, which forms part of the border between Georgia and Florida, and of the Suwannee River, which flows through Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. Thus if the mining activities of the applicant affect the Okefenokee, or the underlying Floridan Aquifer, they may affect the quality of the waters of the state of Florida. In addition, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge promises more economic benefit to Florida than any other NWR. https://tinyurl.com/y5dws8oa

Please direct the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to thoroughly examine the five state permit applications from Twin Pines Minerals, LLC (TPM). https://wwals.net/?p=54009 The evidence indicates DNR should reject those applications. At the least, an environmental review equivalent to an Environmental Impact Statement should be conducted, with public hearings and third-party review.

The 60,000 people who wrote to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers against that mine are still opposed, despite the Corps abdicating its oversight. https://wwals.net/?p=53867

For many reasons to reject permits for this mine, see Continue reading

Georgia Runoff Candidates: Position on strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp? 2020-12-16

December 16, 2020 (PDF)

To: David Perdue
Jon Ossof
Kelly Loeffler
Raphael Warnock
Lauren “Bubba” McDonald
Daniel Blackman

Re: What will runoff candidates do to stop the proposed strip mine next to the Okefenokee Swamp?

[Letter, Suwannee Riverkeeper, mine site, Okefenokee Swamp, fish kill]
Letter, Suwannee Riverkeeper, mine site, Okefenokee Swamp, fish kill

Dear candidates in the Georgia runoff elections for U.S. Senate and Public Service Commission,

A company from Alabama, Twin Pines Minerals LLC, proposes to strip-mine for titanium dioxide for paint within a few miles of the Okefenokee Swamp. Continue reading

Why Pot Spring is closed 2020-07-20

Update 2020-07-30 Pot Spring still closed 2020-07-29.

WWALS member Scotti Jay wanted to know why Pot Spring Tract is closed, after he saw a closed sign a week ago.

[Pot Spring on WWALS WLRWT map]
Pot Spring on WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) map

So I called Edwin McCook, Sr. Land Management Specialist, at the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD). He said it’s just routine thinning of planted pines. Since the entrance road is narrow and dirt, it’s difficult for vehicles to get in and out past logging trucks, so the road is closed for safety. The thinning should be done in a few days.

[Closed sign]
Photo: Scotti Jay, Closed sign

He also volunteered that SRWMD has hired security through Labor Day, due to recent episodes of vandalism. People have been arrested and charged for that lately, so please don’t tear up things. Continue reading

Valdosta rainbarrels to reduce runoff

Gretchen got a rainbarrel from the City of Valdosta, I got some concrete blocks, we set the barrel on the blocks and connected it to a PVC pipe from a raingutter. In about 20 minutes of rain, the 50-gallon rainbarrel was full. We don’t even live in Valdosta, but rainbarrels are also about preventing sewage spills; read on.

City of Valdosta Stormwater Division, Raining
Photograph: John S. Quarterman at Okra Paradise Farms, Lowndes County, Georgia.

Within an hour we had a hose hooked up and we used some of the water in transplanting trees.

Video, more pictures, and more links to materials from the city of Valdosta and the state of Georgia on a separate LAKE blog post.

Part of Valdosta’s incentive for this Stormwater Education Outreach can be inferred from Continue reading

Final Suwannee River BMAP 2018-05-22

Did you know the Final Suwannee River BMAP was released last week? Apparently not many others did, either. Here’s the letter I sent FDEP about that.

Suwannee River BMAP and PFA boundaries, The Problem


PDF

 June 4, 2018

Nitrate above and below ground, Pages Mr. Noah Valenstein, Secretary
Dept. of Environmental Protection Continue reading

Farmer Randy Dowdy objects to Sabal Trail’s soil mixing evaluation plan 2018-03-13

How can there be soil mixing yet zero noncompliance incidents? FERC saw soil mixing first visit without digging, Dowdy to FERC Randy Dowdy asked directly to FERC, following up his call in AgWeb for an independent investigation of Sabal Trail’s destruction of his world-record-holding soybean fields in Brooks County, Georgia.

Dowdy doesn’t trust Sabal Trail or anybody it sends to investigate that soil mixing. He’s hardly the first to say Sabal Trail’s inspectors don’t; see for example FERC’s Moultrie Scoping Meeting 2015-09-29 where James Bell said pipeline inspectors stood around until they noticed him watching, Sandra Jones said the surveyors were not qualified, and Attorney Daniel Dunn said Sabal Trail operates under darkness of misinformation. Dowdy may be late to the opposition, but he is determined.

Sabal Trail is still a stagecoach line in an electric car world, except stagecoaches didn’t destroy farmers’ fields.

Letter from Randy Dowdy to FERC

Continue reading

Randy Dowdy calls for independent investigation of Sabal Trail soil mixing 2018-03-06

Dear pipeline companies: if you gouge through a rock-star farmer’s world-record-holding soybean fields, you may find he gets national coverage.

Bryan Mitchell, March 6, 2018 08:16 AM, AgWeb powered by Farm Journal, Pipeline Nightmare: Randy Dowdy Calls For Independent Investigation,

Randy Dowdy’s soil death is no mystery, insists the Georgia producer, and now a federal inspection report appears to back his claims of soil damage on record-breaking farmland due to pipeline construction. A letter (Feb. 6) from the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) to the Sabal Trail Pipeline Project describes “topsoil and subsoil mixing” on Dowdy’s farming operation, yet significantly does not address issues of noncompliance.

GA-BR-029.000 Dowdy south field, Little Creek, MP 217, 1657-PL-DG-70197-219,, Dowdy parcel 053 00161 Brooks County, GA
GA-BR-029.000 Dowdy south field, Little Creek, MP 217, 1657-PL-DG-70197-219, 30.9439700, -83.6154600

Dowdy signed Continue reading

Sabal Trail alleged plan for soil mixing 2018-03-09

Yesterday Sabal Trail filed with FERC a sketchy plan to investigate the subsoil and topsoil mixing it caused on four farmers’ lands in two Georgia counties. The tail wagging the dog, Sabal Trail demanded FERC rubberstamp this plan within one week.

GA-BR-028.000 Dowdy north field, Little Creek, MP 216.4, 1657-PL-DG-70197-218
GA-BR-028.000 Dowdy north field, Little Creek, MP 216.4, 1657-PL-DG-70197-218, 30.9503000, -83.6217700

Needless to say FERC didn’t supply the GPS coordinates, nor the county parcel numbers, nor the related Sabal Trail alignment maps: WWALS did that, to figure out things are in what Sabal Trail filed.

The details are on the WWALS website, also including maps by WWALS.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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