Okefenokee Threatened by Massive Mining Project (Again)

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wilderness area in the East, and it forms the headwaters of the St. Marys River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean just south of Cumberland Island. The Okefenokee is the largest blackwater swamp in North America and one of the wildest and most biologically diverse landscapes in the Eastern United States.

In July, an Alabama company announced plans to strip mine for titanium and other heavy minerals in an area bordering the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Twin Pine Minerals is proposing to operate its mining facility in stages on about 19 square miles along a ridge of land bordering the refuge. The total proposed area is about 12,000 acres. The titanium dioxide that Twin Pines Minerals wants to mine is primarily used to produce white pigment for paints and paper. Gopher tortoises, a threatened species that is considered a “keystone” species on which other animals depend, will be among the many species impacted due to construction of facilities and mining activities.

In the 1990s, DuPont’s plan to mine on 38,000 acres outside the refuge caused such an outcry that then-Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt visited the Okefenokee in April 1997 to declare his opposition. DuPont gave up its Georgia mining plan in 1999.

We need a similarly massive public outcry against this mining plan in order to stop it. Please make your voice heard. Public comments can be sent to holly.a.ross@usace.army.mil.

You can sign this petition opposing the strip mining plans for the Okefenokee:

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/331/961/490/stop-strip-mining-planned-next-to-okefenokee-national-wildlife-refuge/

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