"Mining Fight on the Okefenokee Swamp’s Edge May Have Only Just Begun"

"Legislation to protect critical wetlands faces uncertainty as titanium mine moves closer to permitting."

"FOLKSTON—As the sun peaked through trees draped in Spanish moss on a March afternoon, Michael Lusk steered a boat into the Okefenokee Swamp wilderness.

Across a flooded prairie, great egrets searched for fish among the lily pads and an American alligator sunned itself on a floating bed of peat.

“This is what a wetland is supposed to look like on a massive scale,” said Lusk, who manages the refuge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

But a threat looms to one of the world’s largest blackwater wetlands, environmentalists say. For five years, an Alabama company has tried to develop a nearly 600-acre mine on Trail Ridge, the ancient sand dunes that form the eastern boundary of the swamp. Last month, despite opposition from the federal government, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) released draft permits for the mine, bringing the project closer to becoming reality."

Drew Kann reports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution March 29, 2024.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 04/01/2024