By RUSS BYNUM
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet is urging Georgia officials to deny permits for a proposed mine near the edge of the famed Okefenokee Swamp and its vast wildlife refuge. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says in a letter to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp that the project poses “unacceptable risks” to the swamp’s fragile ecosystem. The letter is dated Nov. 22. Since 2019, Twin Pines Minerals has sought government permits to mine minerals near the bowl-like rim of the Okefenokee. Company President Steve Ingle calls Haaland’s letter a desperate attempt to derail the project. He says Twin Pines can mine without harming the swamp. Some scientists have warned mining could irreparably damage its ability to hold water.