Tag Archives: TPM

Support Georgia HB 1289 to protect the Okefenokee Swamp 2022-02-24

Please ask Georgia legislators to pass HB 1289 against mining near the Okefenokee Swamp. Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, an Alabama-based company operated by people with a history of misrepresentation and pollution, is proposing a mining operation that threatens the Okefenokee Swamp and tourism-related jobs in the area, as well as the Floridan Aquifer and the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers.

[Otter, Okefenokee Swamp, 2019-12-07. Photo: Gretchen Quarterman]
Otter, Okefenokee Swamp, 2019-12-07. Photo: Gretchen Quarterman

Floridians, you can do these things, too. The Swamp is upstream from Florida, both aboveground and through the Floridan Aquifer. You can call these Georgia legislators using the numbers in here: House and Senate.

For what’s in the bill and some other ways you can stop such mines, see Continue reading

Georgia Okefenokee protection bill HB 1289 filed on Okefenokee Swamp Day 2022-02-08

On newly-proclaimed Okefenokee Swamp Day, a bipartisan bill to ban mining on Trail Ridge by the Okefenokee Swamp appeared in the Georgia legislature: HB 1289.

[Bill, Proclamation, Trail Ridge]
Bill, Proclamation, Trail Ridge

What You Can Do

You can ask Georgia Governor Kemp to get the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) to deny the permit request from Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, for a titanium dioxide strip mine within three miles of the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the St. Marys and Suwannee Rivers. Or ask your city or county government to pass a resolution supporting the Swamp and opposing the mine, as half a dozen have already done.

Or write directly to GA-EPD: TwinPines.Comment@dnr.ga.gov

Or use this convenient Georgia Water Coalition action alert form to ask your statehouse delegation to pass HB 1289 and to ask GA-EPD to deny the permits.

Why

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More than 40 scientists oppose strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp 2021-11-30

Dozens of scientists across the U.S. have written a letter spelling out dangers of strip mining near the Okefenokee Swamp.

They couldn’t cover everything, but they found scientific evidence running from habitat loss, fire risk, and lowering the Floridan Aquifer, to dark skies, tourism, and economy, including: “Mining will impact the water quality of the Okefenokee Swamp and downstream rivers, including the St Mary’s and Suwannee Rivers, through release of stored chemicals, including toxic heavy metals.”

You can mention the scientists’ letter when you ask the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to deny the miners’ permit applications.

[Heavy Mineral Mining In The Atlantic Coastal Plain-0006]
The mine site is labeled Saunders Tract in the middle of this map. See Figure 5.

The situation is no different from when DuPont tried to mine next to the Swamp twenty years ago. As Gordon Jackson points out in The Brunswick News (December 9, 2021), “The argument two decades ago and today is there has never been a comprehensive study to show how much of an impact, if any, disturbing the layered soil would have on the refuge.”

Naturally, the miners disagreed, according to Emily Jones for WABE (December 1, 2021): Continue reading

Supreme Court ruling on underground water could affect proposed titanium strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp

Here’s yet another reason you can cite when you ask the Georgia Enviromental Protection Division (GA-EPD) to stop the mining proposal by Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) to strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, above the Floridan Aquifer.

David Pendered, Saporta Report, January 3, 2022 5:13 pm, Okefenokee Swamp mining proposal could be affected by Supreme Court ruling,

The proposal to mine sand near the Okefenokee Swamp could be affected by a groundbreaking ruling on water rights issued by the U.S. Supreme Court.

[Figure 8. Drawdown 2930 days]
Figure 8. Drawdown 2930 days

For the first time, justices have determined the same laws that apply to water flowing above ground apply to water in multi-state underground aquifers.

“This court has never before held that an interstate aquifer is subject to equitable apportionment,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a unanimous opinion issued Nov. 22, 2021. This doctrine “aims to produce a fair allocation of a shared water resource between two or more States,” according to the ruling.

The ruling sets a legal foundation to manage future disputes over the usage of interstate groundwater. This issue is expected to arise more frequently as drought and climate change poise to alter the United States’ traditional water supplies and challenge agreements among governments to share water.

This ruling could be brought into play at the proposed mine near the Okefenokee, in part because of the amount of water to be extracted for mining operations from the four-state Floridan Aquifer. For that to happen, a party that has standing to file a lawsuit would have to do so on behalf of one or more of the four states that are above the Floridan Aquifer — Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Two of these states have previously litigated Georgia’s use of water from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers. The Supreme Court ruled against Florida’s claim in April.

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Resolutions for Okefenokee Swamp, against strip mine –Suwannee Riverkeeper @ SGRC 2021-12-09

Yesterday I asked members of the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC) to pass resolutions supporting the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers against a proposed titanium strip mine. SGRC’s members include 18 counties, which is almost all the Georgia Suwannee River Basin counties, and 45 municipalities. Some of them have already passed such resolutions: Valdosta, Waycross and Ware County, Homeland, Kingsland, and St. Marys.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper; Okefenokee Swamp, mine site]
Suwannee Riverkeeper; Okefenokee Swamp, mine site

You can ask your local city or county government to pass a similar resolution. The previous resolutions are on the WWALS website.

You can also ask GA-EPD for a moratorium on mining permits, or to deny the permits, or at the very least to examine them very thoroughly and produce the equivalent of the Environmental Impact Statement that the Army Corps should have been working on.
https://wwals.net/?p=55092

You can also use Protect Georgia form to end a message to your Georgia statehouse delegation.

Floridians, this mine site is upstream from Florida, and you can also use these forms.

Thanks to SGRC Council Chair Joyce Evans and Assistant Director Chris Strom for inviting me to come speak to SGRC.

See also Continue reading

More water questions from GA-EPD about TPM strip mine too near Okefenokee Swamp 2021-12-07

Since September, GA-EPD has twice more asked the miners for more information on their permit applications to strip mine for titanium dioxide too near the Okefenokee Swamp. We have more questions beyond those. You can ask GA-EPD questions, and to deny the mining permit applications.

On October 20, 2021, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) asked more questions about water: retention, disposal, reclamation. The miners’ answer on November 19th apparently was not satisfactory, because on December 7, 2021, GA-EPD asked more water questions.

[TPM Ponds and Another GA-EPD Letter]
TPM Ponds and Another GA-EPD Letter

I’ve got another: how can Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) with a straight face promise “zero discharge of wastewater” and in the next paragraph say “Overflow from the process water primary overflow pond may occur due to heavy rain events.” That’s exactly what happened after Hurricane Irma at three north Florida Chemours mine sites where TPM was processing tailings, resulting in TPM still being under a Florida Consent Order. What if wastewater overflows into the Okefenokee Swamp during a hurricane or other “heavy rain event”? What stops wastewater even in TPM’s proposed retention ponds from seeping down into the Floridan Aquifer, from which we all drink?

And another: TPM still shows piezometers for water monitoring on property it does not own, with a disclaimer that it has no access to. So how will TPM monitor that area, which is downhill towards the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the St. Marys and Suwannee Rivers?

You can ask GA-EPD for a moratorium on mining permits, or to deny the permits, or at the very least to examine them very thoroughly and produce the equivalent of the Environmental Impact Statement that the Army Corps should have been working on.
https://wwals.net/?p=55092

You can also use Protect Georgia form to end a message to your Georgia statehouse delegation.

Floridians, this mine site is upstream from Florida, and you can also use these forms.

All of this GA-EPD correspondence with the miners and the permit applications is Continue reading

Valdosta council opposes swamp mine plan –VDT 2021-11-17

The Valdosta resolution could influence the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), especially through elected state and national officials. So it doesn’t matter that the head of the LLC from Alabama that wants to strip mine next to the Okefenokee says that resolution won’t affect his decisions.

You can help influence by talking to your elected officials or by writing to GA-EPD: https://wwals.net/?p=55092

Terry Richards, Valdosta Daily Times, November 17, 2021, Valdosta council opposes swamp mine plan,

[Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson; Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman; Map: Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta, mine site]
Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson; Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman; Map: Okefenokee Swamp, Valdosta, mine site

VALDOSTA — An Alabama-based mining concern said a resolution by Valdosta’s city council won’t stop them from starting a controversial South Georgia mining project.

“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 to oppose Twin Pines’ plans to start a mining project near the Okefenokee Swamp, about 75 miles from Valdosta. The vote was Continue reading

Valdosta working to protect Okefenokee Swamp –WFXL TV 2021-11-15

Kyra Purvis, WFXL, November 15, 2021, The city of Valdosta is working together to protect Okefenokee Swamp,

The city of Valdosta is working together to protect the Okefenokee Swamp from a proposed strip mine being placed near the area.

[Reporter, Mayor, Suwannee Riverkeeper, mine in Suwannee River Basin map]
Reporter, Mayor, Suwannee Riverkeeper, mine in Suwannee River Basin map

The Okefenokee Swamp is a 438,000 acre wetland that straddles the Georgia-Florida line and is a place [where] many local residents go for nature-filled fun.

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Valdosta passes resolution opposing strip mine near Okefenokee Swamp 2021-11-11

Yesterday the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin passed a resolution opposing the proposed Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) strip mine or any others within ten miles of the Okefenokee Swamp. The resolution further asks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reverse its abdication of oversight, asks GA-EPD for a moratorium on all mining permits until effects are settled of the recent court overruling of 2020 Clean Water Act changes, as well as to reject the TPM permits, or at least to review those applications as thoroughly as the Army Corps would, and asks the Georgia legislature to prevent such strip mines near the Swamp or any blackwater rivers in the Suwannee River Basin.

You can also ask the state to stop this mine: https://wwals.net/?p=55092

[Mayor and Riverkeeper]
Mayor and Riverkeeper

Continue reading

Mining moratorium: NWPR WOTUS and Army Corps on Okefenokee mine site –WWALS to EPD 2021-09-27

The Army Corps’ excuse to abdicate oversight over the strip mine site near the Okefenokee Swamp was overturned in a court case this August, so the Corps should take that back up.

Meanwhile, WWALS asked GA-EPD to impose a moratorium on all mining permit applications until the ramifications of that court case are sorted out, which could take months or years.

You can ask GA-EPD for that moratorium, or to deny the permits, or at the very least to examine them very thoroughly and produce the equivalent of the Environmental Impact Statement that the Corps should be working on.
https://wwals.net/?p=55092

[Moratorium, please, GA-EPD, since District Court vacated Army Corps' excuse]
Moratorium, please, GA-EPD, since District Court vacated Army Corps’ excuse

The Letter: WWALS to GA-EPD

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