Chemours titanium mine expansion, Bradford BOCC 2019-10-17

Bradford BOCC voted 3:2 for the Chemours Trail Ridge South titanium mine on SRWMD land. Commissioner Chris Dougherty (District 3) made the motion, Kenny Thompson (District 2) seconded, Frank Durrance (District 5) aye, Danny Riddick (District 4) nay, Ross Chandler (District 1) nay.

[Commissioners and staff]
Commissioners and staff

Here’s the WWALS video:


Chemours titanium mine expansion, Bradford BOCC 2019-10-17
Video by John S. Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS), Bradford County Courthouse, Starke, Florida.

I will post more videos later of the two hours of public comment, including numerous specific citations of faults with the mining application, as well as the very professional-seeming Chemours slide show, which nonetheless omitted important features such as the FDEP Consent Order and whether Twin Pines Minerals is involved.

This is not the end of the story. Several speakers warned them they were setting themselves up for lawsuits about the improper notice of last night’s Public Hearing. According to Chemours, they still need many permits: Continue reading

Okefenokee Camping and Paddle, Griffis Fish Camp 2019-12-06-08

Come camp at Griffis Fish Camp Friday, paddle 14 miles to Fargo Saturday, camp again, and paddle 7.5 miles Sunday from Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp, back to camp, all on the blackwater Suwannee River. And see the drawing for the kayak raffle for a Perception Swifty Deluxe 95 Angler Sit Inside Kayak!

We will deliver the kayak, Drawing Raffle Ticket Winner
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman for WWALS. WWALS Kayak Raffle Drawing at Griffis Fish Camp, 2018-12-09.

When: 4:00 PM Friday, December 6, 2019, camp at Griffis Fish Camp
9:00 AM Saturday, December 7, 2019, paddle down to Fargo Ramp
8:30 AM Sunday, December 8, 2019, paddle from Stephen C. Foster State Park Ramp back to camp

Where: Griffis Fish Camp, 10333 Ga Highway 177 Fargo, Georgia 31631, in Clinch County.
From Fargo, travel south on US 441 to CR 177; turn left and travel 10 miles northeast; Griffis Fish Camp is on left.

GPS: 30.728505, -82.4436

[Sandy Suwannee downstream from Tatum Creek by John S. Quarterman, 12:04:13, 30.7161810, -82.5134767]
Sandy Suwannee downstream from Tatum Creek by John S. Quarterman for WWALS, on Southwings flight, pilot Allen Nodorft, 2019-10-05 12:04:13, 30.7161810, -82.5134767

Bring: You must wear a PFD and have a tow rope. Also boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members for each day. So if you paddle Saturday and Sunday and you are not a member, that will be $20. Becoming a member is only $25…. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Park fees: Griffis Fish Camp charges for camping or river put-in.
There is a $5 park entry fee at Stephen C. Foster State Park.

Camping: If you want to camp at the State Park, reserve well in advance through ReserveAmerica.
If you don’t want to camp, there are cabins at the State Park, and the nearby Eco-Lodge has heated hotel rooms.

Event: facebook, meetup Continue reading

Still $20 until midnight tonight: WWALS Boomerang 2019-10-15

Today, October 15, 2019, is the last day for $20 early bird tickets for the WWALS Boomerang Paddle Race from Georgia into Florida and back again. After midnight, the price goes up to $30.

Everybody cropped, Everybody
Photo: Jay Blanton of Georgia Photography Fanatic. Everybody still at WWALS Boomerang after the awards, 2018-11-03.

Everything about WWALS Boomerang 2019 is here:
http://wwals.net/pictures/2019-10-26–boomerang/

Continue reading

WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting 2019-10-20

Announcement
WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting

2 to 4 PM, Sunday, 20 October 2019
South Georgia Regional Library, 2906 Julia Dr, Valdosta, GA 31602
Dial-in Number: (712) 770-5505
Meeting ID: 855-676
facebook event

Addition of Santa Fe River subbasin, WWALS Boomerang Paddle Race, Budget, water quality monitoring, water trails, BIG Little River Paddle Race, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Alapaha Quest, outings, festivals, projects and programs, pipelines, LNG export, titanium mines, phosphate mines, Bill of Rights for Nature, and more.

[Banner]
WWALS Banner. Yes, we will be updating it again to insert Santa Fe before Suwannee.

Invited to attend: WWALS members, especially committee members, and the general public.
All WWALS Board Members are expected to attend in person or by telephone.
The more done on the board list, the less time we have to spend in this meeting.

See the WWALS website for board members and committees.

The agenda will be available later.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Titanium mine expansion on SRWMD land SE of Starke, Bradford County, Florida 2019-10-17

What is the point of SRWMD buying land if it’s going to let it be strip-mined for titanium?

[Bradford County Property Appraiser]
Bradford County Property Appraiser

Yet that’s what the Bradford County, FL, Commission is considering approving this Thursday evening for Chemours, expanding one of the same mines Chemours and Twin Pines Minerals LLC are under a Florida Consent Order for numerous violations.

We hear that this Chemours expansion application for its Trailridge Mine southeast of Starke includes items like a Master Mining Plan and some of what they intend to do with wastewater, which the Twin Pines Minerals application does not for a similar mine near the Okefenokee Swamp in Charlton County, GA, farther north up Trail Ridge, that ancient beach full of stuff miners want to exploit.

[Twin Pines site (north) to Chemours Trailridge Mine (south)]
Twin Pines site (north in center top) to Chemours Trailridge Mine (south).
See also proposed HPS II phosphate mine site left of center, and existing Nutrien (PCS) phosphate mine in Hamilton County, FL upper left.
Note Jacksonville on the right in the east and Gainesville bottom center.
The Santa Fe River starts near the subject property, and flows west (left) to the Suwannee River.

We don’t know, because the application is not on Bradford County’s website.

When: 6:30 PM, Thursday, October 17, 2019

Where: BRADFORD COUNTY COURTHOUSE, 945 North Temple Avenue, Starke, Florida 32091

Event: BEF facebook event
WWALS facebook event

Here is the agenda item:

  1. PUBLIC HEARING – Randy Andrews, Zoning Director.
    Chemours Company FC, LLC – Thomas O. Ingram of Sodi & Ingram, PLLC and Daniel LeJeune of Kleinfelder, as acting agents for The Chemours Company FC LLC., and Connie Henderson, Representative for The Chemours FC, LLC.
    • Consider approval of a Special Use application — SU 19-02, for a Special Permit for mining submitted by The Chemours Company FC, LLC on lands owned by the Suwannee River Water Management District.

SRWMD owns 2,213.60 acres from just south of Chemours down to a sort of triangle-shaped 107.49-acre bit north of the Keystone Heights Airport.

[Google map]
WWALS Google map with SRWMD property roughly sketched.

That Airport is also known as Keystone Airpark, 42J, 29.8447500,-82.0475278. The purple-shaded left part of this WWALS google map is the Santa Fe River Basin, and this Chemours mine expansion appears to be entirely within it.

If you want to speak, here are the rules:

  1. Public Comments:
    • Three (3) minutes per speaker;
    • Complete and turn in a public comment card to speak before the start of meeting; (COMMENT CARDS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE MEETING BEGINS)
    • State your name and address into the record before speaking;
    • Do not speak from the audience;
    • Address your questions to the Board, not county staff;
    • Refrain from demands for an immediate board response;
    • No boisterous behavior; and
    • No personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks.

WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper know about this Chemours mine expansion application due to a report by Jim Tatum of Our Santa Fe River (OSFR). OSFR got their information from Bradford Environmental Forum (BEF). Paul Still of BEF says BEF plans to put a copy of the application on the BEF website as soon as they can sort out the logistics of getting a multi-megabyte file uploaded on slow rural broadband links.

This aerial I took on October 5th looks south across the Chemours Maxville Mine (the second one counting south from the state line), with Kingsley Lake in the distance.

[Closer, 122702, 12:27:01, 30.1685423, -82.0663337]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, on Southwings flight 2019-10-05, pilot Allen Nodorft, Closer, 122702, 12:27:01, 30.1685423, -82.0663337

Those six settling ponds are on the divide between the St. Johns River Basin on the left and the Santa Fe River Basin on the right. So the right-hand side of the picture is in the Santa Fe River Basin. The SRWMD mine of the Bradford County application is in the haze near the horizon.

Do we want more of the Santa Fe River Basin to look like this?

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Shirley practicing at Banks Lake 2019-10-12

Shirley Kokidko, taking out at Banks Lake, where we will paddle tonight to see the sun set and the full moon rise. It’s free to WWALS members, and only $10 per person for non-members. Boats will be available at the lake for free rental from NWXpeditions.

[Loading boat]
Loading boat

Follow the link for details about this evening’s outing. Continue reading

Pictures: Cleanup, Alapaha River, Lakeland and Pafford’s Landing 2019-10-12

A fun couple of hours and a truckload of #Rivers Alive trash picked up in and around the Alapaha River at Lakeland Boat Ramp and Pafford’s Landing, on the Alapaha River Water Trail, yesterday, October 12, 2019.

[WWALS #RiversAlive Alapaha River]
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, WWALS #RiversAlive Alapaha River

Continue reading

Winner Tumbler for WWALS Boomerang and last call for early bird tickets 2019-10-26

Tuesday, October 15, 2019, is the last day for $20 early bird tickets for the WWALS Boomerang Paddle Race from Georgia into Florida and back again.

If you are one of the many lucky winners, you will get one of these tumblers with the Boomerang logo on it:

[Boomerang logo on tumbler]
Boomerang logo on tumbler

Thanks to Fishing Tackle Outlet on Madison Highway for becoming a sponsor. You or your organization can also sponsor the WWALS Boomerang. Sponsors get their name and logo on a banner, in announcements, and in flyers, with various other perks at different levels of sponsorship.

Everything about WWALS Boomerang 2019 is here:
http://wwals.net/pictures/2019-10-26–boomerang/

Continue reading

A Bill of Rights for Nature

Does it seem most of the agencies, laws, and rules are rigged for big corporations and against local private property rights, against local fishing, swimming, boating, and hunting, and against organizations like Riverkeepers and Waterkeepers?

Turbidity curtains and black pipe from the north bank
View from the south bank of Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline turbidity curtains and pipe, collecting drilling fluid frac-out from pilot hole, taken from the north bank of the Withlacoochee River, about 2000 feet upstream from the US 84 bridge.
Photo: John S. Quarterman, October 22nd 2016.

One approach to change that is a Bill of Rights for Nature (BOR), to change the legal structure so rivers, swamps, aquifers, lakes, etc. presumptively have rights that corporations have to prove they are not violating.

For example, Suwannee Riverkeeper is helping oppose a company that wants to mine titanium within three miles of the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, and above the Floridan Aquifer, from which all of south Georgia and north Florida drinks.

http://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining/

[Tribal Grounds west along GA 94 to TPM equipment, 12:38:38, 30.5257540, -82.0411100]
Tribal Grounds west along GA 94 to TPM equipment, 12:38:38.
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, on Southwings flight, pilot Allen Nodorft, 2019-10-05.

We shouldn’t have to get more than 20,000 comments sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (you can still comment) pointing out that the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge contributes far more jobs (700+) and other economic benefits (more than $60 million/year) to the region and to Florida and Georgia than even the wildest promises of the miners (150-200 as in the application? 300? 350, as they told some reporters?), and the mine would risk all that, including boating, fishing, and birding in the Swamp and hunting around it. We should be able to point to the rights of the Swamp, Rivers, and Aquifer, and the miners should have to prove beyond a shadow a doubt that they would not violate them.

When the Georgia House of Representatives overwhelmingly refused to grant easements for the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline to drill under Georgia rivers, Continue reading

ARWT Sign to Pafford’s Landing: Cleanup this Saturday 2019-10-12

Stay to the left to go to Lanier Boat Ramp first, then come back and take the right fork to Pafford’s Landing for the WWALS and Rivers Alive cleanup this 10 AM this Saturday, October 12, 2019, on the Alapaha River near Lakeland, Georgia. It’s free!

[With roads]
With roads

You can also help pay for these Alapaha River Water Trail road signs Continue reading