Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge receives welcome news on mining damage threat
The Chemours Co., a chemical company that is a spinoff of DuPont, will not purchase a mine next to Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp, which is the largest blackwater wetland in North America and a National Natural Landmark.
Cover photo: Okefenokee Shelter, Credit: Neal Wellons via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The Chemours Co., a chemical company that is a spinoff of DuPont, will not purchase a mine next to Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp, which is the largest blackwater wetland in North America and a National Natural Landmark. This announcement is meaningful because Chemours was seen by many experts as the company most likely to possess the resources and know-how to mine for titanium in this area.
In addition, Chemours pledged not to buy titanium from any Okefenokee-adjacent project at any time in the foreseeable future. Chemours said it made this commitment to “ensure the value of the Okefenokee is maintained.”
The win comes after more than 100,000 public comments and petitions have been filed with the state and federal governments opposing the Twin Pines project, a proposed strip mine on the border of the wildlife refuge. Opposition to Twin Pines has included thousands of comments submitted to Georgia decision-makers from Environment Georgia’s network. Environment Georgia is a state partner of Environment America. It also comes as conservation groups work in Georgia to convince state regulators to deny permits for mines near the swamp and urge state lawmakers to ban mining near the swamp. Groups have also called for a reinstatement of federal protections for this area, which were rolled back under the Trump administration.
In response, Environment America Public Lands Campaign Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:
“Swamps may not always get the same love that majestic forests receive, but the Okefenokee is special to Georgians. It’s important for fish, migratory birds and all sorts of plants and wildlife, and it’s essential for clean water. While the Chemours news doesn’t lock the door on mining in the area, it brings us a lot closer to closing it on these destructive plans.
“The next steps are denying permits and then banning mining altogether in this sensitive area. We’re hoping our leaders look at this corporate announcement, plus pay attention to the broad public support for protections, and realize that this would be the wrong mine in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Director, Public Lands Campaign, Environment America
Ellen runs campaigns to protect America's beautiful places, from local beachfronts to remote mountain peaks. Prior to her current role, Ellen worked as the organizing director for Environment America’s Climate Defenders campaign. Ellen lives in Denver, where she likes to hike in Colorado's mountains.