“The opposition to the Twin Pines project is simply unprecedented. Risking the health of this world-class resource defies common sense. Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division’s job is clear—the project permits must be denied.”
Nearly 10,000 people submitted comments to Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) urging Georgia to reject the proposal from Twin Pines Minerals to mine near Okefenokee Swamp. In total, Georgians, environmentalists, scientists and federal agencies submitted more than 50,000 comments nationwide in support of protecting Okefenokee.
“The opposition to the Twin Pines project is simply unprecedented,” said Christian Hunt, senior federal lands policy analyst with Defenders of Wildlife. “Risking the health of this world-class resource defies common sense. Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division’s job is clear—the project permits must be denied.”
- In January, Georgia’s EPD opened a 60-day public comment period on Twin Pines’ proposal and a final proposal is required for Twin Pines to qualify for a mining permit.
- Support to protect Okefenokee prior to this comment period has been resounding, with nearly 200,000 comments submitted among the agencies.
- Notably, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland recently submitted comments directly to Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp that reinforced the dangers of mining operations near Okefenokee Swamp and urged him not to support this proposal.
- Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a vital natural resource in Georgia and the largest refuge east of the Mississippi. At roughly half a million acres, Okefenokee is one of the largest intact freshwater ecosystems in the world and home to various threatened and endangered species. The refuge also contains more than 350,000 acres of congressionally designated wilderness that supports hundreds of species of plants and animals, including the imperiled red-cockaded woodpecker and eastern indigo snake.
- Of the nearly 600 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System, Okefenokee is in the top 10 for economic output, generating $64 million per year for local communities, and supporting over 750 jobs.
Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.