Tag Archives: Twin Pines Minerals

If you can’t beat the mines, buy the land –Dwight Davis 2024-04-23

There is one slight catch: buying the land will be very expensive. There is probably only one organization that can afford it.

Although the lawsuits likely to ensue as soon as the permits are issued may reduce the price.

Nonetheless, merely buying the land would encourage more mining permit applications. There needs to be legislation to prohibit such mines anywhere near the Okefenokee Swamp.

Also, I don’t know what questioning he is referring to.

Dwight Davis, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 23, 2024, If you can’t beat the mines, buy the land,

The mining permit for Trail Ridge near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has evolved into a contentious debate. Though initially a civil discourse on ecological preservation, recent opposition has taken a harsh tone, unfairly questioning the integrity of state officials involved in the decision-making process. Amid this, crucial facts have been overlooked.

[If you can't beat the mines, buy the land --Dwight Davis, Okefenokee Swamp, GA-EPD, GA-DNR]
If you can’t beat the mines, buy the land –Dwight Davis, Okefenokee Swamp, GA-EPD, GA-DNR

Having served on the board of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for 14 years, including as its past chairman, I’ve engaged with various stakeholders, including environmental groups, local elected officials and the mining company, Twin Pines, that is seeking permits to mine for minerals near the treasured Okefenokee swamp. Despite the board having no direct influence over the permit decision, we closely monitored the process.

Opponents of mining proudly claim they want to save the Okefenokee, but so does the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, which is Continue reading

Video: Okefenokee Swamp over proposed strip mine –Emily Floore, WWALS Webinar 2024-03-21

Here is the video of Emily Floore, St. Marys Riverkeeper, giving the third WWALS Webinar, about the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the St. Marys and Suwannee Rivers: why we protect it and the proposed strip mine that threatens it, as well as a recent Conservation Fund study.

[Video: Okefenokee Swamp, over proposed strip mine, Emily Floore, St. Marys Riverkeeper, WWALS Webinar 2024-03-21]
Video: Okefenokee Swamp, over proposed strip mine, Emily Floore, St. Marys Riverkeeper, WWALS Webinar 2024-03-21

Here is the video:
https://youtu.be/9EjO_kNue1g?si=GvyTL3xUc2HDtwpc

This webinar was held by zoom, noon-1 PM, Thursday, March 21, 2024.

Some things mentioned in the video: Continue reading

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

Hamilton County, Florida, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp, against the strip mine 2024-02-20

Update 2024-04-07: Added names of County Commissioners in the form as passed.

Update 2024-03-16: Atkinson County, GA, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp against the strip mine 2024-03-14.

County opposition to the proposed strip mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp has crossed the GA-FL line.

The Board of County Commissioners of Hamilton County, Florida, on February 20, 2024, passed this resolution. A signed copy is forthcoming.

[Hamilton County, Florida, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp, against the strip mine 2024-02-20]
Hamilton County, Florida, resolution for the Okefenokee Swamp, against the strip mine 2024-02-20

That makes four counties on the Suwannee River downstream of the Okefenokee Swamp: Ware, Clinch, Echols, and Hamilton.

Plus many other counties and cities.
https://wwals.net/2021/12/10/resolutions-for-okefenokee-swamp-against-strip-mine-suwannee-riverkeeper-sgrc-2021-12-09/

Resolution 2024-

A RESOLUTION FOR THE OKEFENOKEE SWAMP AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, HAMILTON COUNTY, FLORIDA

WHEREAS, Hamilton County takes pride in its rivers, including the Suwannee River to the east and south;

WHEREAS, the citizens of Hamilton County value the natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities afforded by the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee River and their watersheds;

WHEREAS, the Okefenokee Swamp is a unique natural, cultural, and economic treasure known worldwide, identified as an Aquatic Resource of National Importance by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a National Natural Landmark, a National Wilderness Area, and a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention;

WHEREAS, the Okefenokee Swamp is the headwaters of the St Marys River and of the Suwannee River, famous worldwide;

WHEREAS, the Suwannee River forms the eastern and southern boundaries of Hamilton County for more than eighty miles;

WHEREAS, Hamilton County hosts several Suwannee River access points, demonstrating commitment to recreation on the Suwannee River through various initiatives;

WHEREAS, the Hamilton County Commission has shown commitment to water quality and waterway recreation through the approval of the Comprehensive Plan, providing protections for the Suwannee River and its watersheds;

WHEREAS, the citizens value the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee River for water quality and habitat protection;

WHEREAS, the environmental impact of strip mining in proximity to the Okefenokee Swamp raises significant concerns for the watershed;

WHEREAS, thorough and unbiased review processes are crucial in assessing the potential environmental consequences of mining activities;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners:

  1. Support the preservation and protection of the Okefenokee Swamp and its surrounding watersheds.
  2. Advocate for a comprehensive, transparent, and impartial review of any proposed mining activities near the Okefenokee Swamp, including public hearings, public comments, and independent third-party review.
  3. Encourage the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to thoroughly review and assess all mining permit applications to the same degree as a thorough U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Area-Wide Environmental Impact Statement, with public hearings, public comments, and independent third-party review.
  4. Advocate for legislative measures in Georgia to prevent future strip mines near environmentally sensitive areas, including the Okefenokee Swamp and the blackwater rivers in the Suwannee River Basin.
  5. Request the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to engage with the permitting process of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to ensure thorough consideration of environmental impacts.

PASSED AND ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, Hamilton County, Florida, this day of 2024.

BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
HAMILTON COUNTY, FLORIDA

Attest:

 
Greg Godwin
Ex-officio Clerk

By
Chairman, Robert E. Brown
District 3

Member, Jimmy Murphy
District 1

Member, Robby Roberson
District 2

Member, Travis Erixton
District 4

Member, Richie McCoy
District 5

Approved as to Form By:

Andrew J. Decker, III
Hamilton County Attorney

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

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

Okefenokee Swamp over proposed strip mine –Emily Floore, WWALS Webinar 2024-03-21

Update 2024-03-19: Okefenokee webinar, resolutions, bills, Suwannee River paddle 2024-03-19.

Emily Floore, St. Marys Riverkeeper, will give the third WWALS Webinar, about the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the St. Marys and Suwannee Rivers: why we protect it and the proposed strip mine that threatens it, as well as a recent Conservation Fund study.

This webinar will be by zoom, noon-1 PM, Thursday, March 21, 2024.

[Okefenokee Swamp over proposed strip mine --Emily Floore, WWALS Webinar]
Okefenokee Swamp over proposed strip mine –Emily Floore, WWALS Webinar

“WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper continue our work to protect the Okefenokee Swamp, 85% of which is in the Suwannee River Basin. We conduct outings for direct exposure, we have gotten city council and county commission resolutions passed, and we talk to Georgia state legislators, while expanding the issue into Florida. But the mine site is in the St. Marys River watershed. So I am very pleased that, since she’s been St. Marys Riverkeeper, Emily Floore has taken a strong position and action to support the Swamp and to oppose the mine,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

Register in advance with zoom for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrdOmtqzkpGt3UGEP7SDw6JJaAVAPt9d30 Continue reading

GA-EPD issues draft permit for TiO2 strip mine near the Okefenokee Swamp 2024-02-09

Update 2024-02-21: Okefenokee bills, Georgia legislature 2024-02-21.

Updated 2024-02-12: Today GA-EPD updated its Public Notice to day 60 days (instead of 30 days) for the public comment period. So that appears to mean the revised final comment date is April 9, 2024.

Four years after the original application, and two weeks after publishing the miners’ revised mining plan, GA-EPD has published a draft permit for the strip mine for titanium dioxide too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

You have 30 60 days from today, February 9, 2024 to comment to GA-EPD:
twinpines.comment@dnr.ga.gov

There will be an online zoom public meeting at 6PM on March 5, 2024.
https://gaepd.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ff7nrdELQPOr0DaPwfxK3A

You can encourage the Georgia legislature to pass legislation to prevent more such mines:
https://www.gawater.org/okefenokee-swamp

And it’s a safe bet that if GA-EPD approves the final permits, lawsuits will fly.

[TPM Saunders Mine Site Layout and WWALS Aerial]
TPM Saunders Mine Site Layout and WWALS Aerial from January 10, 2021

Two weeks ago GA-EPD published the Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) Revised MLUP and Associated Documents.

Today, GA-EPD published Continue reading

Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River, and Okefenokee Swamp on Scott James radio talk921.com 2024-02-02

We also talked about the future Troupville River Camp and Nature Park, in addition to defending the Okefenokee Swamp from a proposed stripmine, chainsaw cleanups, and the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, which will go around the river frontage of the pending Troupville Park.

This was Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman on the Scott James radio talk show on talk921.com, Friday, February 3, 2024. I referred to him as Mayor, because Scott James Matheson is also the Mayor of Valdosta, Georgia.

We also prominently mentioned Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter.

And Helen Tapp, from whom the county in December 2022 bought the 71 acres from Helen Tapp down to the Little River Confluence to add to the 44 acres already owned by Parks and Rec to combine for the proposed park.

[Mayor and Chairman's Paddle, Withlacoochee River, Okefenokee Swamp, and Troupville River Camp and Nature Park on Scott James radio talk921.com 2024-02-03]
Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River, Okefenokee Swamp, and Troupville River Camp and Nature Park on Scott James radio talk921.com 2024-02-03

Here is a WWALS video playlist:
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKwQ5xfKf-QwydpvXE-C4BTMUQqv4yfCg&si=CLMEdlCi8TM3d_Q6 Continue reading

Nashville, Georgia, resolution opposing strip mining in or near the Okefenokee Swamp

Thank you, Nashville, Georgia, Mayor and Council, for passing a resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp against the proposed strip mine.

[City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign]
City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign

For the increasing number of these resolutions, see:
https://wwals.net/?p=57248

Please ask your Georgia statehouse members to pass HB 71. Floridians, ask your friends and relatives in Georgia to do that. And ask your city or county in Florida to also pass a resolution.

For more about this issue, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining/

The resolution

Continue reading