The Okefenokee is one of the greatest remaining natural treasures in the world and holds significant economic, ecological, and cultural value for the people of Georgia. We cannot risk long-term damage to the swamp for experimental, unsustainable mining projects, such as Twin Pines Minerals, LLC’s proposal to mine Trail Ridge.
In spite of the strong bipartisan support for House Bill 71 (“Okefenokee Protection Act”), the bill stalled. We are still hopeful for future legislation that will protect the ecological integrity—not to mention its economic and cultural value—of the Okefenokee from future mining projects.
A week before Crossover Day, a dangerous bill—HB 1338—arose claiming to be a protective alternative to HB 71. Introduced by Rep. John Corbett, HB 1338 would have instituted a 3-year moratorium on new permits for dragline surface mining. It would also prohibit EPD from extending the moratorium (even if problems occur) and would severely restrict the time judges have to review challenges to permits, after which the permit would be granted by default. HB 1338 was a bad bill and a distraction from the real work of protecting the Okefenokee Swamp.
YOU spoke up against this bad bill—and HB 1338 never made it to the House floor for a vote! We are immensely grateful for the hundreds and thousands of advocates like you who called and emailed your representatives, warning them to not be deceived by this dangerous bill.
Special thanks to the many folks who were at the Capitol until past midnight on Crossover Day working to stop this bill, including members of the Georgia Wildlife Federation, Chatahoochee Riverkeeper, Georgia River Network, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, Southern Environmental Law Center, Sierra Club, Georgia Conservation Voters, Science for Georgia, and other members of the Georgia Water Coalition. We did this together!