Twin Pines Minerals, LLC has withdrawn its application to operate on roughly 2,400 acres of land along the border of the Okefenokee Swamp, announcing they will reduce the size of the permit area before resubmitting their application. The news is a temporary reprieve for the swamp, which contains the nation’s largest national wildlife refuge east of the Mississippi River and attracts over 600,000 visitors annually. When the plan was first announced, many locals and visitors alike voiced their disapproval, as the mine is likely to damage the swamp’s unique hydrology. The change in tactics by Twin Pines to limit the size of their mine is likely related to wanting to skirt the environmental impact statement (EIS) process, an independent review that would quantify the mine’s damage to the swamp.
Christian Hunt, Southeast Program Representative at Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:
“Twin Pines withdrew its application for one reason: the company was told their project would require an Environmental Impact Statement and therefore a thorough independent scientific review. Transparency is the last thing this company wants.
“Further analysis will only reinforce what we've known all along: that mining poses an unacceptable threat to the Okefenokee.
"Twin Pines will no doubt return with a second application designed to skirt scientific scrutiny and further review. We will not be fooled by this strategy. The fight for Okefenokee is far from over and we will not let our guard down.”