Public Comment to the Army Corps against mining near the Okefenokee Swamp: May 13, 2020, 2-5 pm

 

The following article by Suwannee RiverKeepe John Quarterman describes our opportunity to have a voice against mining near the headwaters of the Suwannee River by an inept, rule-breaking mining company, Twin Pines Minerals.  Please register and say you are opposed to the mine.

Also, please see our follow-up post from the Albany Herald.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
[email protected]
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 7, 2020, Hahira, Georgia — In an apparently unprecedented move, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is holding a “virtual Public Meeting” about a mining application. Suwannee Riverkeeper calls on everyone who can to join this online Public Meeting, for at least a few minutes between 2 and 5 PM on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. This will help show there is substantial controversy about the proposed titanium mine on the doorstep of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. That could cause the Corps to at least require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), or maybe even to deny the permit.

“The Corps needs to know people consider the beauty of the Okefenokee Swamp, and the birding, boating, fishing, and hunting nearby that it provides, to be too important to risk with a strip mine far too close to the Swamp,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Everyone down to the Gulf of Mexico should be concerned about this strip mine at the headwaters of the the Suwannee River, and east on the St. Marys River to the Atlantic. Way west at Valdosta, Georgia, exits from I-75 say Okefenokee Swamp this way, so the economic benefits of the Swamp are widespread. People visit the Swamp and the Suwannee from all over the world, and the public outcry needs to be just as widespread.”

[Mine to Gulf and Ocean]
Mine to Gulf and Ocean in the WWALS map of all public landings and boat ramps in the Suwannee River Basin.

To attend the virtual Public Meeting, first you must RSVP by emailing:

To: [email protected]
Subject: “RSVP for 13 MAY Public Meeting TPM”

Make sure that you include your full name, email address, and contact phone number with area code.

Before the meeting, you will receive the meeting link and security code. Just click the link and follow the prompts.

The meeting will use the WebEx platform, so go ahead and pick up an app for that, or try out the web interface on your laptop or desktop computer.

All participant lines will be muted in order to maintain audio quality. Moderators will direct questions to the appropriate person during the question and answer session.

Simply joining the meeting will be significant. You can ask your question the WebEx chat, by voice if they call on you. Please at least ask the Corps for an EIS, or to deny the permit application.

You can ask anything, or just say you oppose the mine. If you have a specific logistical or scientific question, please ask it, in such a way that it requires a specific answer. For example:

  • Where specifically will the wastewater go, how much, and what permit will you use for that?
  • What specific technical and managerial methods are you using to prevent the types of violations that has your company under a Florida Consent Order for mines just across the state line?
  • How many water quality testing stations do you plan on the St. Marys and Suwannee Rivers, where, how frequently will you sample them, and how quickly will you publish the results on the web where everyone can see them?
  • Where is your documented track record for the mining techniques you propose?

This may be our last chance to save the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and the rivers that depend on it. Please speak up on May 13th.

Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, of Alabama is now on its second application, and still has failed to prove that this mining would cause no harm to the Okefenokee Swamp, the Suwannee River, or the St. Marys River, in Georgia and Florida. Many experts say evidence shows that irreparable damage will be done to this rare and fragile environmental treasure, beloved worldwide.

Dozens of local, national, and state (Florida, Georgia, and beyond) organizations and individuals support the Okefenokee Swamp and oppose anything that would harm it, including this mining application.

[Organizations For Okefenokee Swamp, Against Titanium Mine]
Organizations For Okefenokee Swamp, Against Titanium Mine
PDF

Many of those organizations have banded together in the Okefenokee Protection Alliance (OPA). Suwannee Riverkeeper is a charter organizational member of OPA. OPA will also be issuing a press release soon.

More than 30,000 people already submitted written comments, and this extra step could be what it takes.

After the virtual Public Meeting, or if you can’t attend, please file another comment with the Corps. Follow this link for how to do that.

For much more about this bad mining idea, see: wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining/

About WWALS: Founded in June 2012, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.

Contact: John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper [email protected]
WWALS Watershed Coalition
850-290-2350, 229-242-0102
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632

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