Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most unique natural landscapes on the East Coast. My family, along with 600,000 guests annually, visit to bask in its vast wilderness.

But today, the ‘land of trembling earth’ has a trembling future. Mining company Twin Pines plans to mine minerals used in paint, dangerously close to our treasured swamp.

Okefenokee lies west of Trail Ridge, an ancient sandy beachfront running parallel to Georgia’s coast. Trail Ridge provides unique habitats and corridors for important species like gopher tortoises. It also serves as a natural barrier that keeps water in the swamp.

Twin Pines’ immediate plans are to mine along Trail Ridge, recklessly affecting over 500 acres of wetlands in a 2,400-acre site and eventually mining 10,000 more acres. They propose to excavate deep soils (up to 50 feet below the surface), significantly changing geologic formations created over hundreds of thousands of years and impacting the flow of water in and around the swamp. Such major alterations to a treasured natural system likely cannot be reversed, repaired, or mitigated. We cannot risk damaging our beloved Okefenokee for reckless mining.

Now through September 12, I hope the public will join me in submitting comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responsible for issuing the company permits.

The Corps must host a public hearing and require an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the impacts and prevent activities that will forever alter the trembling earth that has inspired so many generations.

Alice Keyes


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