Local Officials Back Mining Project Near Protected Wilderness

The Charlton County Commission approved a proclamation supporting a plan to mine near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

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FOLKSON, Ga. (AP) — County officials in Georgia are supporting a mining proposal near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge that a U.S. agency has said could cause environmental damage.

Radio station WSVH reports the Charlton County Commission voted unanimously Thursday evening to approve a proclamation backing the mining plan by Twin Pines Minerals of Alabama. Commissioners cited the company's promise of 150 jobs as well as additional tax revenue.

Twin Pines Minerals is seeking federal and state permits to mine for titanium dioxide less than 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) from the edge of the Okefenokee, the largest federal refuge east of the Mississippi River. Company officials said they could provide scientific modeling to show any harm would be minimal.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff wrote in February that mining could pose "substantial risks" to the environment.

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