Tag Archives: Ware County

No mining guarantees, and leave the Okefenokee alone –Local citizens in Charlton County Herald 2019-10-30

Local citizens consider the full page ad by the miners to be fighting words. They see the miners can provide no guarantees, so they should leave the Okefenokee Swamp alone, and the rivers that run from it, too.

You can still comment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or write your own letter to the editor.

[River Styx & Okefenokee NWR --Wayne Morgan 2019-10-05]
River Styx & Okefenokee NWR from above Twin Pines Minerals mine site Photo: Wayne Morgan for WWALS on Southwings flight, pilot Allen Nodorft 2019-10-05

Leave it this way and leave it alone

Dear Editor,

As a family with a long history in this area, it is imperative that Continue reading

Okefenokee Camping and Paddle, Griffis Fish Camp 2019-12-06-08

Come camp at Griffis Fish Camp Friday, paddle 14 miles to Fargo Saturday, camp again, and paddle 7.5 miles Sunday from Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp, back to camp, all on the blackwater Suwannee River. And see the drawing for the kayak raffle for a Perception Swifty Deluxe 95 Angler Sit Inside Kayak!

We will deliver the kayak, Drawing Raffle Ticket Winner
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman for WWALS. WWALS Kayak Raffle Drawing at Griffis Fish Camp, 2018-12-09.

When: 4:00 PM Friday, December 6, 2019, camp at Griffis Fish Camp
9:00 AM Saturday, December 7, 2019, paddle down to Fargo Ramp
8:30 AM Sunday, December 8, 2019, paddle from Stephen C. Foster State Park Ramp back to camp

Where: Griffis Fish Camp, 10333 Ga Highway 177 Fargo, Georgia 31631, in Clinch County.
From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and travel 10 miles northeast; Griffis Fish Camp is on left.

GPS: 30.728505, -82.4436

[Sandy Suwannee downstream from Tatum Creek by John S. Quarterman, 12:04:13, 30.7161810, -82.5134767]
Sandy Suwannee downstream from Tatum Creek by John S. Quarterman for WWALS, on Southwings flight, pilot Allen Nodorft, 2019-10-05 12:04:13, 30.7161810, -82.5134767

Bring: You must wear a PFD and have a tow rope. Also boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members for each day. So if you paddle Saturday and Sunday and you are not a member, that will be $20. Becoming a member is only $25…. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Park fees: Griffis Fish Camp charges for camping or river put-in.
There is a $5 park entry fee at Stephen C. Foster State Park.

Camping: If you want to camp at the State Park, reserve well in advance through ReserveAmerica.
If you don’t want to camp, there are cabins at the State Park, and the nearby Eco-Lodge has heated hotel rooms.

Event: facebook, meetup Continue reading

Comments: 20,338 on titanium mining near Okefenokee Swamp –USACE 2019-09-12

If this and the 27 news articles on radio, TV, and newspapers in Georgia and Florida, several of them carried by Associated Press across the country, plus the ten op-eds and three editorials, is not enough to establish controversy, I wonder what is. Maybe still more comments and news articles and social media?

[Public Notice: 20,338 comments]
Public Notice: 20,338 comments
PDF

Nedra Rhone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 13 September 2019, Mining proposal near Okefenokee draws more than 20K comments from public

The Suwannee Riverkeeper, on Thursday, sent 22 pages of questions to the Corps and the Georgia Department of Environmental Protection asking the agency to deny the permit. The Riverkeeper joined the SELC and other organizations and individuals in asking the Corps to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, the highest level of analysis available when a proposed federal action may significantly affect the quality of the human environment.

Also in that AJC story:

Commenters expressed concerns ranging from the acres of wetlands that would be lost to what they considered inadequate studies conducted to determine the potential impact of the mine.

In a letter to the Corps, the Southern Environmental Law Center said Continue reading

Deny or EIS, titanium mining near Okefenokee Swamp –Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS 2019-09-12

Sent just now as PDF. You can still send in your comments today.

[Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine?]
Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine? PDF


September 12, 2019

To: Col. Daniel Hibner, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District
       Attention: Ms. Holly Ross,  holly.a.ross@usace.army.mil
       1104 North Westover Boulevard, Suite 9, Albany, Georgia  31707

Cc: Stephen Wiedl, Wetlands Unit, stephen.wiedl@dnr.ga.gov
       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 Colonel Hibner,

Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) asks USACE:

  • to reject the subject Application from Twin Pines Minerals (TPM), given the inappropriate location which would over the years move ever closer to the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, combined with the numerous omissions from the Application regarding the wide hydrogeologic, water quality, ecologic, and economic ramifications of the proposed mining, and the numerous other mines relevant to the proposal.

If USACE continues to process the Application, WWALS requests USACE:

  • to require a complete hydrogeological assessment and report, a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and an economic analysis, with all three covering all the relevant features, mines, and applications in south Georgia and north Florida, including at least those outlined in this letter.
  • to accept comments until at least ninety days after all these documents are submitted to USACE and distributed to the public, preferably on USACE’s website, without requiring site visits to Albany to get them.
  • to hold public hearings in Georgia and Florida for further independent input and review after sufficient time (months or years) for independent third-party review.

The proposed Charlton County, Georgia, TPM mine site is hydraulically upgradient from the Okefenokee Swamp and within close proximity to the boundary of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR), with its 600,000 visits per year for boating, birding, and fishing, with more than $60 million annual economic effects including hundreds of jobs supported directly or indirectly, plus hunt clubs surrounding the Swamp. The Swamp provides ecosystem services of great economic values, including storm protection, water quality provisioning, support for nursery and habitat for commercial fishing species; and carbon storage, plus those hunt clubs depend on the Swamp. Any pollution of the Swamp or change in surface or groundwater levels could adversely affect not only ONWR and nearby areas, but also the Okefenokee Swamp Park (OSP) near Waycross, in Ware County, GA, and Stephen C. Foster State Park (SCFSP) in Charlton County, via Fargo in Clinch County. Visitors come from Jacksonville, Florida, Brunswick and Valdosta, Georgia, and from much farther away to visit the Okefenokee Swamp. The Swamp is a treasure to the entire nation and the world.

The stigma of a strip mine next to the swamp could cause people to turn away, taking their dollars with them. Who wants to boat, fish, bird, or hunt next to a strip mine?

Continue reading

Okefenokee overflight with GA Rep. John Corbett 2019-08-24

Flying over the affected area appears to have made at least one elected official think harder about whether the supposed titanium mining jobs could be more important than the effects on the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, both its economic importance and the potential environmental detriments to the swamp, to the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, and to the Floridan Aquifer. You can still write to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking for denial or at least an Environmental Impact Statement.

Gordon Jackson, The Brunswick News, 28 August 2019, Getting the aerial perspective on a titanium mining project,

[WC6170, 22:40:34]
Photo: Jim Tatum, of the Chemours North Maxville Mine, Baker County, Florida. This is the mine pictured in the Brunswick News article.

…The mining company Twin Pines Minerals, LLC [(TPM)], said it plans to employ 150 people, but [Georgia State Representative John] Corbett acknowledged most of the employees will not come from Charlton County.

Corbett went on a two-hour flight Saturday Continue reading

Suwannee River Car Camping and Paddle 2019-02-15-17

Join us as we camp two nights and paddle the Upper Suwannee River, between the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Fargo, Georgia, around Griffis Fish Camp, on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.

When: 4:00 PM, Friday, February 15, 2019, Camping, Griffis Fish Camp

Put In: Gather 8AM, launch 9AM, Saturday, February 16, 2019, Griffis Fish Camp to Fargo Boat Ramp
Gather 8AM, launch 9AM, Sunday, February 17, 2019, Suwannee River Sill to Griffis Camp

GPS: for Griffis Fish Camp: 30.782505, -82.4436

Take Out: Friday camping,
Saturday take out at Fargo,
Sunday take out at Griffis Camp.

Bring: a tow rope and the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) per day for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Fargo, Griffis, Sill, Maps

Continue reading

West Mims Fire completely out; update tomorrow 2017-08-07

The biggest fire in the country, that started April 6, 2017 in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, has been out for about a month now, put out by rains, after massive containment efforts by fire crews from many counties and states. Apparently Lowndes County, Georgia, sent some assistance, since they have a special presentation about that fire on their agenda for this week. Their agendas never say whether such presentations are in the Work Session, which was this morning at 8:30 AM (it wasn’t) or in the Regular Session, Tuesday evening at 5:30 PM (must be then). Gretchen Quarterman was there this morning, and says they said the presenter will be someone unnamed from Charlton County. Gretchen will video the presentation for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).

InciWeb West Mims Fire Incident Updated 7/11/2017
Map: InciWeb West Mims Fire Incident Updated 7/11/2017.

The fire within a week burned north into the Suwannee River watershed. A party of people we know, including Continue reading

More than 100,000 acres and Billy’s Island in West Mims Fire 2017-05-03

We got smoked here in western Lowndes County yesterday and this morning 60 miles from the West Mims fire as it went up to 107,846 acres in and around the Okefenokee NWR. Many of the fire-fighting numbers went down since last post: remember, the goal is not to put the fire out, rather to contain it. As I write, a big storm just went over here heading that way, so maybe mother nature will take a hand today.

The Valdosta Daily Times has been covering this fire right along, most recently by Terry Richards, VDT, 2 May 2017, Rain barely felt at massive swamp fire,

FARGO — A mild rainfall Monday had little to no impact on the West Mims Fire burning through the Okefenokee Swamp, according to a firefighter.

The blaze, which had burned more than 100,000 acres by Tuesday afternoon, received about a tenth of an inch of rain from a weak cold front that moved through South Georgia Monday.

“It didn’t help,” said Leland Bass, a firefighter and public information officer for the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Maybe they’ll get more rain in the swamp today. Continue reading

All the way to GA 177: West Mims Fire 2017-04-30

Well, this keeps escalating, now 96,248 acres, including some on Billy’s Island, opposed by 499 personnel, 6 helicopters, 57 wildland fire engines, 6 dozers, 37 tractor plows, and 2 interagency hot shot crews, according to InciWeb today. Some crews came from as far away as Denver, according to CBS Denver 26 April 2017, and the smoke has spread as far as North Carolina.

Fire Map, InciWeb, 2017-04-30
InciWeb map, West Mims Fire, 2017-04-30

Today’s InciWeb release does claim Continue reading

Cancer in Waycross and the upper Suwannee River watershed

At least the Waycross cancer problem is finally getting some news media attention. Brenda Goodman and Andy Miller, Georgia Health News, October 20, 2016, Why are kids in Waycross getting cancer? (Part One of Special Report),

Fourteen-year-old Lexi Crawford was attacked by lower back pain so sharp that she couldn’t even sit up to eat. Her mother had to bring her food while she was lying flat on her back. Doctors in Waycross, GA, the town where she lives, thought it was a kidney infection. But after months of antibiotics didn’t clear it up, a visiting doctor in the local ER suggested an X-ray.

What he saw on the scan was terrifying.

Continue reading