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The Planet

Okefenokee Gets Lift from Babbitt

The Planet, May 1997, Volume 4, number 4

By Mary-Beth Baptista

The Club's campaign to stop Du Pont from strip-mining titanium on 38,000 acres along the eastern boundary of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia got a boost in April when Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt spoke out against the proposal.

"This is not an appropriate neighbor for a national wildlife refuge," Babbitt told a crowd of more than 200 people gathered at the Okefenokee refuge. He announced that he plans to urge Du Pont's board of directors to abandon its mining plan. His public statement that the proposed operation posed unacceptable risks to water flows, wildlife and vegetation rejected the corporation's arguments that their mining plans would not harm the 354,000-acre designated wilderness.

Despite Babbitt's proclamation, Du Pont is going ahead with its plans to apply for a 50-year mining permit from state environmental officials in May and from the Army Corps of Engineers in January 1998, as required for its proposed March 2002 startup date.

The proposed strip-mining operation could have disastrous environmental consequences for indigenous endangered and threatened species -- including the wood stork, the red cockaded woodpecker, the indigo snake and the parrot pitcher plant -- by damaging both the air and water quality within the wetland. To take action: Express your concern for the Okefenokee refuge to Du Pont CEO Krol and President Clinton and send a letter thanking Secretary Babbitt for speaking out on the issue and encourage him to stand firm on his position. Send a copy to the editor of your local paper and to the Okefenokee Campaign so it can better report the volume of public concern to the news media. Write CEO John A. Krol at Du Pont Corp., 1007 Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19898; (800) 441-7515; e-mail: <>. Write President Clinton at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC 20500. Write Interior Secretary Babbitt at the Department of the Interior, 1849 C St. NW, Washington, DC 20240.

For more information: Contact the Sierra Club Okefenokee Campaign at (404) 888- 9778; 1447 Peachtree St., Suite 305, Atlanta, GA 30309; e-mail: <>.

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