Category Archives: Economy

Request comment deadline extension and public hearings about titanium mine near Okefenokee Swamp –Suwannee Riverkeeper to Army Corps 2020-03-19

We urge everyone else to also send the Army Corps a comment letter asking for an extension of the comment deadline and for public hearings.

For more things you can do to oppose this bad mining application, see How to Comment.

[Map: TPM Mine, Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee River]
Map: TPM Mine, Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee River
in the WWALS map of All Public Landings in the Suwannee River Basin.
The TPM mine is marked in the right center by the highlighted crossed hammers,
due north of the line of four Chemours titanium mines in north Florida.

Below is the text of the letter WWALS just sent to the Corps as a PDF.

March 19, 2020

To: Col. Daniel Hibner, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District
Attention: Ms. Holly Ross, holly.a.ross@usace.army.mil,
CESAS-SpecialProjects@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,

Regarding permit application SAS-2018-0054 by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, of Birmingham, Alabama, Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) asks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to extend the public comment period and to hold public hearings, as detailed at the end of this letter.

Review of the current 219-page Application and the hundreds of pages of appendices is not practicable in Continue reading

Stop Georgia from mis-using tax funds: HR 164 for vote Thursday 2020-03-05

This would be fraud if a business did it.

Much of Georgia taxes on new tires or trash dumping are supposed to be dedicated to collecting tires, handling hazardous waste, and the like. Unfortunately, about 40% of such tax collections get diverted to the Georgia General Fund, and from there to who knows where, while tires and trash collect in our rivers. That’s over $200 million dollars of your tax money misused to date.

stop the lies: pass HR 164

This year we can get this passed, even though original sponsor Jay Powell is deceased. HR 164: dedication of revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were imposed; authorize. This resolution would authorize a constitutional amendment referendum to give the General Assembly the authority to dedicate fees while providing flexibility to the budget in the event of a downturn or recession.

To send email to your Georgia State Senator and the Lt. Governor of Georgia asking them to support HR 164, here’s Continue reading

Reject or EIS: Twin Pines Minerals mine near Okefenokee –U.S. Rep. Al Lawson 2020-02-13

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson Jr, Twitter, 2PM, 14 February 2020, @RepAlLawsonJr,

I sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers to express my concerns about Twin Pines Minerals, LLC’s plan to mine for titanium near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. These actions could have detrimental effects on the area’s biodiversity and natural resources.

[U.S. Rep. Al Lawson to USACE]
U.S. Rep. Al Lawson to USACE


AL LAWSON
5TH DISTRICT, FLORIDA
ASSISTANT MAJORITY WHIP
COMMITTEE ON
FINANCIAL SERVICES
COMMITTEE ON
AGRICULTURE

Congress of the United States
 
House of Representatives
 
Washington, DC 20515-0905

February 13, 2020

Col. Daniel Hibner
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Savannah District
100 W. Oglethorpe Avenue
Savannah, Georgia 31401

Dear Hearing Officer:

I am writing to express my concerns about Twin Pines Minerals, LLC’s application for a clean water (CWA) permit to mine for titanium near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Osceola National Forest, and Osceola Wildlife Management Area. I urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to carefully consider the significant environmental, social, and economic costs that could occur if the permit is granted. It is crucial that the Corps require an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Furthermore, the Corps should reject the permit application if it appears the mine will harm the environment.

Trail Ridge and Okefenokee NWR

If approved, the project would destroy portions of Trail Ridge, which acts as Continue reading

Troupville River Camp not on GOSP approved projects: try again this year 2020-01-22

There is a list approved by Georgia DNR for grants from the Georgia Outdoor Stewardshp Program (GOSP), but Troupville River Camp is not on it:

[GOSP Proposal of Approved Conservation Projects]
Georgia Reporter: GOSP Proposal of Approved Conservation Projects; see also PDF.

The GOSP web page says pre-applicants will be notified February 3, 2020, but the GOSP board apparently made their choices more than two weeks ago. Like everybody else, they’re making it up as they go this first year of GOSP.

Jill Nolin, Georgia Recorder, 22 January 2020, Georgia park projects axed as tax on outdoor gear comes up short, Continue reading

Letter: Valdosta Mayor and Council support Troupville River Camp 2019-12-19

Well, Valdosta Mayor John Gayle sent this letter to GA-DNR week before last, although the part of DNR I talked to Monday was unaware of that. Today I got a copy from the City Clerk and forwarded it to GA-DNR.

[The initial investment for this project would be small and the long-term eco-tourism it would create would be far reaching.]
The initial investment for this project would be small and the long-term eco-tourism it would create would be far reaching.
PDF

On behalf of the Valdosta City Council, it is with great pleasure that we supply this letter of support for the WWALS Watershed Coalition’s pre-application for grant assistance for the Troupville River Camp in Lowndes County.

The Troupville River Camp would be a great asset to our community. The proposed property is in an excellent location near the Confluence of the Little River with the Withlacoochee River and not far from I-75 and GA Highway 133. The initial investment for this project would be small and the long-term eco-tourism it would create would be far reaching. Not only would the Troupville River Camp be a boon to Valdosta and Lowndes County, but also for other communities in South Georgia and North Florida,

We want to make Valdosta a place where people will want to live, work, and play and the Troupville River Camp would help us to achieve that goal. We wholeheartedly recommend and humbly ask for your consideration of the pre-application for grant assistance for the Troupville River Camp in Lowndes County.

This is the letter that Valdosta City Council Continue reading

Videos: Troupville River Camp at Valdosta City Council 2019-12-05

Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber described the Troupville River Camp project and the letters received at that time (more have since come in). After brief discussion, the Council approved unanimously the Mayor sending a letter of support.


      7b. Request for letter of support by WWALS
LAKE Video.

In Citizens To Be Heard (CBTH), WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman thanked Council for approving the letter.


      10. CTBH. - Gretchen Quarterman - WWALS ED
LAKE Video.

All the letters received thus far, including Continue reading

Letter: Valdosta Disc Golf Association supports Troupville River Camp 2019-12-30

The president of Valdosta Disc Golf Association (VDGA) offers in-kind design services and maintenance for Troupville River Camp.

[Our club members would be an important partner in helping to keep the River Camp park and grounds clean.]
Our club members would be an important partner in helping to keep the River Camp park and grounds clean.
PDF

My name is Mark Gaither, the current president of the Valdosta Disc Golf Association (VDGA), and on behalf of the club, I would like to offer our support on the construction of the Troupville River Camp. Valdosta currently has Continue reading

Letter: Lowndes County, GA, Commission supports Troupville River Camp 2019-12-30

The county of the site of the proposed Troupville River Camp supports the project.

[Lowndes County’s support for the “Troupville River Camp” project.]
Lowndes County’s support for the “Troupville River Camp” project.
PDF

On behalf of the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners, thank you for the opportunity to express Lowndes County’s support for the “Troupville River Camp” project.

Quality of life amenities are an integral component of economic development initiatives. The ability to provide a river park for citizens that could also serve as a destination for others is an amazing opportunity for our community. Further, programs proposed that will continue to protect one of South Georgia/North Florida’s most valuable natural resources should not be overlooked in the consideration of this application.

Lowndes County appreciates and admires the initiative demonstrated by WWALS Watershed Coalition. Those associated with the organization are both knowledgeable with regards to preservation and passionate about their mission.

Thank you again for the opportunity to express Lowndes County’s support of their efforts.

I had requested this letter at the last Lowndes County Commission meeting of 2019. As I mentioned, Chairman Bill Slaughter was already familiar with the site. Continue reading

Troupville River Camp at Lowndes County, GA, Commission 2019-12-10

At the last Lowndes County Commission meeting of 2019, as Suwannee Riverkeeper, I complimented Code Enforcement and asked for support for the Troupville River Camp project. 
      8. CWTBH - John S. Quarterman - Troupville River Camp
Video.

A WWALS member had called in a complaint to Lowndes County Code Enforcement back in August, about trash at the bottom of the Flying J parking lot at I-75 Exit 2.. It was a big job, involving removing many truckloads of tires, and completely rebuilding the fence, but it was almost finished when I went by there that same Tuesday morning.

About Troupville River Camp, I summarized the WWALS pre-application to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP) for a river camp like those on the Suwannee River, but this one at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, just west of Valdosta.

This method of asking had been requested Continue reading

VSU Geology and ASA at Land Between the Rivers 2019-11-26

Two Geology Professors visited The Land Between the Rivers and wrote a letter about many projects they and their students can do there, at the site of Troupville Boat Ramp. This is more in-kind match for the GOSP grant pre-application.

[Prof. Don Thieme & Can Denizman, 13:30:33, 30.8515417, -83.3452859]
Prof. Don Thieme & Can Denizman, 13:30:33, 30.8515417, -83.3452859

Letter from Donald M. Thieme, Associate Professor, Geology, Valdosta State University (VSU):

[Donald M. Thieme, Associate Professor, Geology, VSU]
Donald M. Thieme, Associate Professor, Geology, VSU
PDF

I am very pleased and excited about the proposal by WWALS to develop the Troupville River Camp. The property in question is Continue reading