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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.”
As California’s drought conditions are worsening, Nestle is pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino forest. State water officials have drafted a cease-and-desist order to force the company to stop overpumping from Strawberry Creek, which provides drinking water for about 750,000 people.
The ice-out date for Maine’s Lake Auburn is now three weeks earlier than it was two centuries ago, the Portland Press Herald reports, and other lakes across New England show similar trends. Climate change is not good for ice, and that includes Maine’s lakes that freeze over every winter.
Why This Matters: A disrupted winter with lakes that “defrost” earlier has multiple knock-on effects for freshwater: in addition to harming fish in lakes, the resulting large cyanobacteria algae blooms that form can be harmful to human health.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Drought conditions cover 85% of Mexico as lakes and reservoirs dry up across the country. Mexico City is experiencing its worst drought in 30 years, and the reservoirs and aquifers are so depleted that some residents don’t have tap water. The capital city relies on water pumped in from […]
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