"SAVANNAH, Ga. — Scientists for the federal government say documents that Georgia state regulators relied upon to conclude a proposed mine won’t harm the nearby Okefenokee Swamp and its vast wildlife refuge contain technical errors and “critical shortcomings” that render them unreliable.
Since 2019, Twin Pine Minerals has been seeking permits to mine titanium less than 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) from the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, the largest refuge east of the Mississippi River. Scientists have warned that mining near the swamp’s bowl-like rim could irreparably harm the swamp’s ability to hold water and increasing the frequency of withering droughts.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division moved the project a big step forward in January by releasing a draft plan for how Twin Pines would conduct mining operations and mitigate any environmental damage. The agency said its own analysis “concluded that water level in the swamp will be minimally impacted.”
In response, hydrologists for the National Park Service reviewed computer modeling results that Twin Pines had submitted to state regulators with its mining application. In a 28-page analysis sent to regulators last week, the scientists said several flaws cast doubt on regulators’ conclusions."