Public Outcry Against Proposed Mine Continues to Grow, Mining Company Withdraws Permit Application
JESUP, GA—After hundreds of local residents, conservation groups, and elected officials expressed concerns around a proposed mining operation that would cover over 4,000 acres in Wayne County and threaten nearby watersheds, DuPont Titanium Technologies has withdrawn its application for a surface mining permit with the Environmental Protection Division (EPD).
“Members of the Jesup community have been upfront about their apprehensions around the project, and it is now evident that DuPont hears them loud and clear,” said Bill Sapp, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. “DuPont must account for these concerns with stronger protections for wetlands and other vital waters the community depends on before moving forward.”
The Southern Environmental Law Center, GreenLaw, Altamaha Riverkeeper, and Satilla Riverkeeper recently filed comments to the proposed permit and attended the first public meeting called by the Concerned Neighbors of Wayne County last week. Under DuPont’s withdrawn application, the mining process to extract titanium and other hard metals would destroy over 190 acres of wetlands and compromise water quality in the Altamaha and Satilla watersheds, as well as numerous ponds and shallow wells used by local residents.
Surface mining regulations require that the mining land use plan must include a description of the surrounding lands and communities that will be affected. The groups charge that the plan in DuPont’s application includes a description of the lands to be mined, but fails to include the impacts from mining activities on the nearby community of Jesup.
“While we applaud this decision, what DuPont really needs to do is drop this ill-advised mining proposal altogether,” said Steve Caley, senior attorney for GreenLaw. “Mining in a populated area near public schools is simply not appropriate.”
“We are glad to see that DuPont is acknowledging the unanimous opposition of the people of Wayne County to their proposed strip mine in one of our most populous neighborhoods,” said Beth Roach of the Concerned Neighbors for Wayne County. “We do not welcome or need their negative impacts on our water supply, our air quality, our public safety, or our property values.”
In its request to withdraw the surface mining permit application, DuPont has stated it will take time to address community concerns as presented in recent meetings. The groups urge EPD to take a more stringent approach with future applications to ensure any mining activities are in compliance with the law, and that surrounding lands, water sources, and communities receive adequate protections.
“Jesup is an incredible community that is willing to come together to protect their surroundings from irresponsible development and industry,” said Altamaha Coastkeeper Jen Hilburn. “DuPont may have pulled this initial permit application, but now is the time for neighbors to stand together and prevent DuPont from making closed-door deals before re-applying for a permit.”
About Southern Environmental Law Center:
The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of nearly 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use. www.SouthernEnvironment.org
GreenLaw is dedicated to preventing air and water pollution that endangers human health and degrades Georgia’s natural resources. Since 1992, GreenLaw has achieved these goals by providing free, high-quality legal and technical assistance to environmental organizations and community groups throughout Georgia. For more information, visit www.greenlaw.org and follow @greenlaw_GA on Twitter.
About Altamaha Riverkeeper:
Altamaha Riverkeeper is a 501(c)(3) non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the habitat, water quality, and flow of the Altamaha river systems, Georgia's largest, from its headwaters in North Georgia to its terminus at the Atlantic Ocean near Darien. ARK represents more than 1,200 members who live, work, and recreate in the Oconee, Ocmulgee, and Ohoopee River Basins and their feeder streams that make up the 14,000 square mile Altamaha River Watershed. More information can be found at www.altamahariverkeeper.org.
About Satilla Riverkeeper:
The Satilla Riverkeeper’s vision is a Satilla River that supports healthy fisheries, safe swimming, diverse wildlife, outstanding recreation, clean drinking water, and sustainable human economic activity throughout the basin. www.satillariverkeeper.org