Georgia regulators issue draft permits for Twin Pines mine
ATLANTA– Late today, Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division released draft permits for Alabama based Twin Pines Minerals LLC’s strip mine on the doorstep of Georgia’s iconic Okefenokee Swamp, the largest blackwater wetland in North America.
While SELC is currently reviewing these drafts, we have reviewed documents Twin Pines submitted to EPD, and the company has failed to prove their proposed mine would comply with state and federal laws and would not harm the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge.
The Okefenokee Swamp is one of the most significant wetlands on Earth. The Okefenokee hosts more than 700,000 visits a year and supports jobs for hard working Georgians. Researchers fear mining in this location will threaten the swamp’s water levels, increase wildfire risks, harm wildlife, and release toxic contaminants into nearby surface and groundwater.
Georgians strongly oppose the proposed mine. EPD received more than 200,000 public comments against the mine and more than a dozen communities around the swamp and across the state passed resolutions that support protecting the Okefenokee. Just last week state lawmakers received a petition signed by more than 500 residents who live near the swamp and oppose the project.
In response, SELC Senior Attorney Bill Sapp released the following statement:
“For years, Twin Pines has failed to prove their proposed mine would not harm the Okefenokee Swamp. This mine would be an unacceptable and unnecessary risk to the Okefenokee, endanger wildlife that call it home, and threaten livelihoods of Georgians who depend on it.
“Georgians have clearly demonstrated they do not want this mine. Through public comments, petitions, and rallies, folks oppose this mine because they understand what’s at stake. EPD has the authority to deny these permits because the company cannot prove the Okefenokee and St. Marys River won’t be harmed in the process.
“While this moves Twin Pines one step closer towards its goal to dig for minerals on 8,000 acres along Trail Ridge, these permits are only drafts. The reason Georgia EPD posts draft versions of the permit is because our state leaders give the public a chance to make their voices heard.”
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