|For Immediate Release
May 14, 1998
Contact: Diana M. Hawkins
DUPONT'S OKEFENOKEE MINING PROPOSAL MEETS CONTINUED OPPOSITION
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service remains stongly opposed to DuPont's intent to continue to explore the development of a titanium strip mine adjacent to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. The Service believes that mining operations here may adversely affect swamp levels and their ecology, endanger wildlife and their habitats and introduce air, noise, light and chemical pollutants to this fragile natural resource.
Referring to Dupont's recent decision to continue to pursue the mining project, the Service's Southeast Regional Director, Sam D. Hamilton, said recently, "By not voting to abandon the project, DuPont has missed a golden opportunity to become a prime example of environmental leadership and responsibility. DuPont's role as an international industrial giant places it in a strong leadership role influencing industrial trade and practices worldwide. It is most regrettable that DuPont intends to pursue a project that brings reportedly little financial benefit to the company but harbors significant environmental risks to an international ecological treasure."
The outcry against this project from federal and state agencies, as well as citizens from all across the nation and the international community has been overwhelming, Hamilton said, noting that, evidently even some shareholders within DuPont's corporate structure are expressing grave concerns for this project.
In spite of a majority vote requiring the project to be automatically re-considered at next year's shareholders' meeting, news reports indicate that a number of stockholders recently voted against the mining proposal. Opposition to the proposal was sparked by a small group (3.4 percent) of shareholders, who feared that the company's estimated financial gain, that is reported to be as low as 0.02% of DuPont's total annual revenue, is not worth the risk posed to the company by the potential environment damage and negative press and public outcry that would ensue.
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service remains undaunted in its opposition to any mining proposals along the boundary of the Okefenokee Swamp," Hamilton said, noting that Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt's comments, "DuPont could do the people of Georgia and the people of the U.S., who care about God's creation and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, a real public service by simply withdrawing this proposal once and for all," that he made more than a year ago at the Okefenokee Swamp are still extremely appropriate today.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages more than 94 million acres of land and water consisting of 513 national wildlife refuges, 65 national fish hatcheries, 38 wetland management districts with waterfowl production areas, and 50 wildlife coordination areas.
The agency also enforces Federal wildlife laws, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat, such as wetlands, administers the Endangered Species Act, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.
Release #: R98-034
1998 News Releases