ATLANTA -- Under the Trump administration’s rule removing Clean Water Act protections for thousands of wetlands and streams, a titanium dioxide mining operation will be allowed to proceed near the Okefenokee Swamp in southeast Georgia without federal permits. The Army Corps of Engineers ruled that most of the wetlands impacted by the mine are no longer protected by the Clean Water Act.
Environment Georgia’s Federal Clean Water Director John Rumpler issued the following statement:
“Home to alligators, bears and bald eagles, the Okefenokee Swamp features the largest wildlife refuge in the eastern U.S. and the headwaters of both the Suwanee and St. Mary’s rivers. This is one swamp we should never drain.
“Yet under the administration’s Dirty Water Rule, Twin Pines Minerals now plans to begin the first phase of a large-scale titanium dioxide mining operation near the Okefenokee. In addition to its impacts on wildlife and potential pollution, the mine could also lower water levels in the Okefenokee.
“Wetlands and streams are crucial to the health of our iconic waters -- from the Okefenokee to the Puget Sound. Yet the Dirty Water Rule wiped out protections for countless streams and wetlands -- a move that was rebuked by the Environmental Protection Agency’s own science advisors.
“As we mark the 48th anniversary of the Clean Water Act this week, we call on Congress and the courts to overturn the Dirty Water Rule. We will not rest until protections for America’s waterways are restored.”