The Okefenokee Protection Alliance, a coalition of more than 40 organizations, has coalesced to save the Okefenokee Swamp. This resource page provides descriptions of problems with Twin Pines Minerals LLC’s proposed plan to mine Trail Ridge; hydrological models examining what could happen to the swamp during mining; and maps about recreational water trails in the swamp and on the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers.
Twin Pines Minerals LLC Mining Proposal Update as of February 2022
Twin Pines Minerals has now submitted applications to Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) for necessary permits to begin mining operations. Those applications are currently under review by state environmental regulators.
In October 2020, following implementation of new federal rules associated with the Clean Water Act, Twin Pines Minerals announced that it was moving forward with a plan to begin mining land on Trail Ridge, adjacent to the Refuge.
The federal rule change removed from protection hundreds of acres of wetlands at the mining site, and Twin Pines no longer sought federal environmental permits for its project. Since then, those regulatory rollbacks were vacated in federal court. The US Army Corps of Engineers and US Environmental Protection Agency are considering whether the approved jurisdictional determination—the mechanism that removed federal oversight from the project—is still valid.
The Okefenokee Protection Alliance is monitoring all permitting processes closely. GA EPD has stated that Twin Pines’ application is currently under review and that there will be additional public comment periods. The Okefenokee Protection Alliance urges all citizens to submit comments on the mining proposal, encouraging EPD to reject the permits, once EPD announces they have opened the 60-day comment period.
Washington Post Article – Trump Rule Eases Effort To Strip Mine Near Okefenokee.
The refuge is part of the National Water Trail System, one of only 21 designated trails in the U.S., in part because it requires an act of Congress. The Okefenokee and the Suwannee River both have water trails. The St. Mary’s trail is under development. To learn more about Georgia Water Trails, click here.