Mining Ruined Family Field
Let me start out by saying that I have not been a part of any protests that have been going on. I don’t think anyone can foresee if the proposed strip mining will actually harm the swamp. We probably won’t know until many years have passed. Only time will truly tell.
However, I can say that the strip mining by Dupont in Bradford County did do a lot of harm to my Grandfather’s strawberry farm! My Grandfather owned a farm that joined Dupont’s property east of Lawtey, Florida. He was very dependent on a fresh water, spring fed creek that ran through his farm. This water was used to irrigate the strawberries. Dupont told the same lies that Twin Pines Minerals is telling us now! They claimed the mining would have NO impact on their neighbors and that the land would be “100% plantable”.
Well, here is the proof of the lies: Go to Google Earth and look at the satellite photos just east of Lawtey, next to my grandfather’s farm which butted up to Dupont’s property. They mined right through the stream and springs that went through his property. The stream dried up, my Grandfather could no longer irrigate and he lost the strawberry business that he had depended on for so many years.
Google Earth photos will show the scar in the land where this strip mining happened over four decades ago.
I will be more than happy to take Mr. Ingle the short ride down to Lawtey and show him the “proof”. I have not been protesting, but his letter in this paper was like rubbing salt in the wounds Dupont’s lies caused my family so many years ago.
Charles F. Arwood,
to submit a letter to the editor!
Thanks to Christian Hunt for sending an image of the letter.
The DuPont mine Charles F. Arwood refers to is now the Chemours Highland Mine, which is in the middle of a string of Chemours titanium mines up Trail Ridge in north Florida. Chemours and Twin Pines Minerals are under a Florida Consent Order for all four of them.
That hasn’t stopped Chemours from applying for a fifth one to the south, the Trail Ridge South Mine. Chemours didn’t answer whether TPM would be involved in that one. But TPM is the applicant for that titanium mine next to the Okefenokee Swamp in Charlton County, Georgia.
All about that proposed TPM titanium mine next to the Okefenokee Swamp:
The comment deadline was May 28, 2020, according to SAS-2018-00554 Twin Pines Minerals, Published April 13, 2020, Expiration date: 5/28/2020.
“The Savannah District will hold a virtual Public Meeting for the Twin Pines project on May 13, 2020 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT. The meeting will consist of a formal presentation followed by a question and answer session. The meeting will be recorded and published to the Savannah District public website. To allow time for the public to submit questions and RSVP to the public meeting, as well as comment on any information presented at the meeting, additional public comments will be accepted and the original public notice will remain open until May 28, 2020, 15 days after the virtual public meeting.”
However, you can write to your elected officials. And the Corps apparently actually continues to read comments after the deadline, right up until they make a decision. While you are at home because of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), you have a great opportunity to write a comment, and to You can also post your comments on social media, as op-eds, etc.
You can ask the Corps and other elected and appointed officials to deny the application, or to require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to consider wider areas the mine may affect, especially the entire Okefenokee Swamp, the Suwannee and St Marys Rivers, and the rest of Trail Ridge in Georgia. You can ask for the EIS to include other mines relevant to this one, especially the four Chemours titanium strip mines in north Florida for which TPM, along with Chemours, is under a Florida Consent Order for a range of violations. You may want to ask for inclusion of the existing phosphate mine in Hamilton County, Florida, next to the Suwannee River, as well as the one proposed in Union and Bradford Counties, Florida, next to the New and Santa Fe Rivers, tributaries of the Suwannee. All those mines affect the Floridan Aquifer, which is the main source of water for drinking, agriculture, and industry for everyone in south Georgia and north Florida.
To comment, or to request a public hearing, you can write to
Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District,
Attention: Ms. Holly Ross, 1104 North Westover Boulevard, Suite 9, Albany, Georgia, 31707,
or by email to CESAS-SpecialProjects@usace.army.mil or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In your comments please refer to:
Applicant: Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, Application Number: SAS-2018-00554.
For the requested state permit regarding Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, you can send a comment or request for public hearing to
Stephen Wiedl, Wetlands Unit, email@example.com
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, Water Protection Branch, 7 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.
For the Georgia Coastal Management Program certification, you can send a comment to
Federal Consistency Coordinator, Ecological Services Section, Coastal Resources Division,
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, One Conservation Way, Brunswick, Georgia 31523-9600
The public announcement says: “The applicant may also require assent from the State of Georgia, which may be in the form of a license, easement, lease, permit, or other appropriate instrument.”
You can write to your Georgia state representative or senator
or governor or lieutenant governor and ask them to refuse any such instrument.
To find your legislator you can type in your ZIP code here: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
You can also write to your U.S. Representative or Senator and ask them to urge the Corps to reject this mine or at least require an EIS, like Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) already did.
You can also write to the Georgia DNR board, asking them to refuse any such instrument.
Georgia Board of Natural Resources
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SE, Suite 1252, Atlanta, GA 30334
You can write to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking them to ask the state of Florida to comment.
To: Mary S. Walker, Regional Administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeaneanne Gettle, Director, Water Division, email@example.com
Blake Ashbee, Chief of Staff, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Carol Kemker, Director, Enforcement & Compliance Assurance Division, email@example.com
Region 4, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Cc: Gregory J. Strong, Director, Northeast Division, Greg.Strong@dep.state.fl.us
Noah Valenstein, Director, Noah.Valenstein@dep.state.fl.us
Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP)
Col. Daniel Hibner, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,Savannah District
Attention: Ms. Holly Ross, firstname.lastname@example.org,
1104 North Westover Boulevard, Suite 9, Albany, Georgia 31707
Stephen Wiedl, Wetlands Unit, email@example.com
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division,
Water Protection Branch, 7 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Atlanta, GA 30334
Re: Applicant: Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, Application Number: SAS-2018-00554
Dear Administrator Walker and Director Gettle,
Here is the pithy request sent by Waterkeepers Florida:
We request EPA to determine, according to 33 CFR § 325.2(b), whether the mining activities of the applicant may affect the quality of the waters of the state of Florida and to notify the state of Florida, the district engineer, and the applicant that Florida therefore “has 60 days from receipt of EPA's notice to determine if the proposed discharge will affect the quality of its waters so as to violate any water quality requirement in such state, to notify EPA and the district engineer in writing of its objection to permit issuance, and to request a public hearing.”
To submit a letter to the editor of the Charlton County Herald,
you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or write to your local newspaper.
You can also contact radio, TV, and of course post on social media.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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