State invites public comment on Georgia plan for proposed mine on doorstep of Okefenokee Swamp
ATLANTA, Ga. — Today the Georgia Environmental Protection Division announced its completion of an initial review of a state surface mining plan — a key part of one of the four state permits necessary for the first phase of a highly contested 8,000-acre mining proposal from Twin Pines Minerals, LLC. The proposed mine, if allowed to proceed, creates an unacceptable risk to the Okefenokee a unique and iconic national wildlife refuge, and its surroundings. Now, for 60 days, the public has the opportunity to weigh in on the plan to mine at the doorstep of the Okefenokee with written and verbal comments.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division continues to entertain an ill-advised mining plan despite overwhelming public opposition to Twin Pines Minerals LLC’s proposed strip mining operation. Local residents depend on the Okefenokee Swamp for jobs, food, and quality of life, and the swamp is the ancestral homeland for Tribal nations. Given the Okefenokee’s economic, ecological, cultural, and historical value, Georgia regulators should stop Twin Pines from destroying hundreds of acres of breathtaking, ecologically significant wetlands.
“It is a critical time for the public to weigh in by sending comments opposing the Twin Pines mine that will destroy hundreds of acres of wetlands on the doorstep of the Okefenokee,” says Megan Huynh, a senior attorney in SELC’s Georgia office. “Beyond the state permitting process, Twin Pines cannot legally fill these wetlands — which are once again protected by the federal Clean Water Act — without a federal permit.”
Georgia Environmental Protection Division will hold virtual public hearings on February 21 and 23, both at 6:00 p.m. Comments should also be submitted via email to [email protected] or in writing to Land Protection Branch, 4244 International Parkway, Atlanta Tradeport, Suite 104, Atlanta, Georgia 30354 by March 20, 2023. Copies of the draft plan are available on the EPD’s Twin Pines information site.