Protect the Okefenokee Swamp Permanently

The Okefenokee Swamp is in trouble—again. Yes, we’ve seen this story before: unscrupulous, out-of-state corporate interests want to risk permanent harm to the swamp so they can make nonessential products.

Twin Pines Minerals wants to:

  • Install a 740-acre heavy mineral sand mine on the Trail Ridge. That ridge acts as a critical retaining wall for the swamp.
  • Pump 1.4 million gallons of water per day from the Floridan Aquifer directly below the Okefenokee.
  • Discharge industrial wastewater within walking distance of the swamp.
  • Take zero responsibility for the damage that could be done.

Consequences will include:

okefenokee-swamp-trail-ridge-infographic
Trail ridge is currently a stratified land mass; it is made up of distinct layers (left). After removal of the titanium, the remaining material will be replaced in Trail Ridge, but in a mixture (right). This will affect the structural integrity of Trail Ridge.

The last time a mining company threatened the Okefenokee Swamp, public outrage forced Georgia leadership to stand up to the corporation, and the proposed operation was abandoned.

This time around, tens of thousands of letters and comments have poured into the Georgia Environmental Protection Division from around the world in support of the Okefenokee Swamp. Hundreds of environmental organizations have thrown their resources behind this cause. But the protections for this area under federal law are murky, so it’s up to Georgians to protect one of our greatest treasures.

In May, we called Governor Kemp to tell him that the Okefenokee Swamp is not for sale.

And, we’ve been ramping up the pressure on the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to deny Twin Pines’ permit to mine. But that’s not enough. We need to make certain this will not keep happening, so we’re urging legislation to ensure that the Okefenokee will be protected for all future generations. The cities of Homeland, Kingsland, St Marys, Valdosta, and Waycross have already passed local resolutions demanding Georgia officials do whatever it takes to protect the Okefenokee.

The 635-square-mile Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.

The Okefenokee is the largest blackwater swamp in North America, and one of the planet’s largest remaining intact freshwater ecosystems. It’s home to a reported 233 species of birds, 49 species of mammals, 64 species of reptiles, 37 species of amphibians, and 39 species of fish. It is also a key economic driver in both Georgia and northeast Florida, is visited by almost 400,000 people, and contributes more than $64 million to local economies every year!

But the Okefenokee Swamp can’t protect itself.

We need to put a law on the books that will.

Take Action: Raise your voice to say NO to corporate interests and YES to protecting the Okefenokee Swamp!

12 Responses to “Protect the Okefenokee Swamp Permanently”

  1. Isabel Cervera

    The Okefenokee Swamp is one of Georgia’s Seven Natural Wonders. It’s the largest blackwater swamp in North America and is one of the planet’s largest remaining intact freshwater ecosystems. This treasure is under constant threat, and we need a law on the books to award the swamp permanent protection.

    Reply
  2. Jean T Saja

    The Okefenokee is the largest blackwater swamp in North America, and one of the planet’s largest remaining intact freshwater ecosystems. It’s home to a reported 233 species of birds, 49 species of mammals, 64 species of reptiles, 37 species of amphibians, and 39 species of fish. It is also a key economic driver in both Georgia and northeast Florida, is visited by almost 400,000 people, and contributes more than $64 million to local economies every year!
    Please protect!

    Reply
  3. Nancy K LaPorta

    This planet is our home and it needs protection. Without fresh water, we all will die – the planet will die.

    Reply
  4. Melanie Pollard

    Our country has many great parks and special places that make us unique. Here in Georgia we have Stone Mountain in Atlanta area, and Moody Swamp and Heggie’s Rock which is protected by the Nature Conservancy. Okefenokee is special in this list of natural wonders making it really, a world treasure. It is our ONLY protected nighttime sky park and home to thousands of species – a truly spectacular place Georigans and the country holds dear. Many surrounding communities also rely on this water system for filtration of freshwater, economic prosperity as well as safety during times of flooding which are increasingly a threat around the world during climate change. The state, the country AND the world cannot afford another mismanagement of this special system. Look at the disaster in the Gulf with one of the largest dead zones in the world and the collapse of the Apalachicola Bay oyster population which has destroyed the livelihood and heritage industry for 1,000’s. The geologic structural integrity of Trail Ridge WILL be compromised by Titanium mining. Which means the liability of 1,000’s of homes and livelihoods stand to be destroyed or damaged permanently by consequential damage – in perpetuity. As a taxpayer, I do NOT want my parks and natural wonders to be threatened by any mining or other form of capitalistic activities that in any way threaten our sensitive parks and habitats. As a taxpayer, I do not want to shoulder any liability for ecological and fiscal damage risks. We see what has happened in Texas when development is allowed to externalize the costs of their industry to the taxpayer. The Okefenokee systems are simply too precious and too vulnerable for Georgia citizens to risk. Our economy is too sensitive to risk. And the options for obtaining titanium can be pursued in other places that do not threaten and sizable Blackwater natural system like the Okefenokee. Simply put, it is NOT worth the risk. Georgia can find better solutions that this for commerce. Protect this natural resource as if our lives depended on it. Because they do. My vote for any elected official is always cast with our environment at the top of the list. And that will continue to be the case. I am paying close attention to how our elected officials handle the Okefenokee. I love our natural world and treasure it. I hope you do to.

    Reply
  5. Donna Selquist

    We MUST protecct the Okeefenokee Swamp and other wetlands! They are irreplaceable resources for our threatened wildlife. DO NOT PERMIT MINING INTERESTS TO SUBVERT AND SPOIL THIS NATURAL PRESERVE!

    Reply
  6. Diane Wallace

    FROM DIANE WALLACE FORSYTH County North Carolina Resident- Let’s keep the Okefenokee pristine and retain habitat for trees, plants and animals. Once the permafrost thaws past a certain point then the temperature of the Ocean will rise such that the methane hydrate frozen at the bottom of the continental shelves and Ocean will be released then there will be an oxygen poor atmosphere above sea level.

    Reply

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