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Why This Matters: The president of Twin Pines claims that the mining operation won’t affect the swamp — but now we will just have to take their word for it since it won’t have to go through federal permitting. Environmentalists fear that the mine would harm the swamp’s ability to store water, damage its habitats, and increase the risk of wildfires. The swamp is about half the size of Rhode Island — but is not covered by the Clean Water Act as it has been interpreted by the Trump administration. This is a painful illustration of the devastating effects of the Trump environmental rollbacks.
The Dire Consequences of Mining
“The only data, anywhere, to suggest that mining would prove benign was that commissioned by Twin Pines itself,” Christian Hunt, the Southeast Program Representative with Defenders of Wildlife, told The Hill. “I can go through a whole litany of threats to the hydrology, to nature,” Rena Peck, executive director of the Georgia River Network, told NPR. The threats include: pollution in streams, lower water levels in the swamp and light pollution that would seep into the refuge. The swamp also has deep cultural significance for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, who were forcibly removed from the area in the 19th century. The Muscogee gave Okefenokee its name, which is said to mean “bubbling water.”
But the potential benefits of mining do not outweigh the costs. Teresa Crawford, who grew up near the swamp and testified for the county commission in August, told NPR: “The Okefenokee swamp is just a treasure. We can’t make a new one. And if it’s destroyed, I mean, it’s gone forever.”
Why This Matters: The states failed to reach a water compact more than a decade ago — now they have nowhere else to go but the Supreme Court, which has “original jurisdiction” over a dispute between two states.
Why This Matters: The rising premiums create a conundrum for the Biden administration, which has promised to honor science in federal policymaking but has also pledged to address economic issues facing the working class.
By Bob Irvin, President and CEO, American Rivers A vision is emerging in the Pacific Northwest that would not only save iconic salmon, but boost clean energy and vital infrastructure, and honor treaties with Northwest tribes — revitalizing an entire region and building resilience in the face of climate change. Salmon in the Pacific Northwest […]
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