Bradford County today, May 7, 2018 discussed the action to be taken regarding Onsite Environmental Consultants. This company from Jacksonville was the only one to respond to the Bradford County ad requesting help in evaluating the HPS II mine permit application.
HPS II offered to pay the $53,000 fee and the offer was accepted by Bradford County, an action deemed unethical by mine opponents. Subsequently, County Attorney Will Sexton met with HPS II representatives who complained that a sub-consultant employed by OEM, Peter Schreuder of Tampa, was biased against mining and unacceptable. HPS II also complained about paying for the report portion regarding land use planning, as it did not pertain to the mine.
Kate Ellison Stasia Rudolph Carol Mosley
Mr. Sexton suggested to the board that their options were to eliminate Schreuder from the report, as per the wishes of HPS II, to reduce or eliminate the land use planning portion of the report, or to accept the report as written.
Tom Germano Mike Roth Chris Bird
After discussion, Commissioner Riddick made a motion to accept the report as written. Finding no second to the motion, Chairman Chandler turned the chair over to Commissioner Durrance, the Vice Chairman, so he could second the motion. The vote was three/two against the motion.
Paul Still Commissioner Riddick
At that time, Commissioner Dougherty moved that they accept the report after first eliminating the land use planning portion. This motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Schreuder is a mining expert and pointed out potential hazards regarding HPS II’s mining master plan, as did independent hydrogeologist Dennis Price of SE Environmental Geology. These are two experienced, experts on mining and they found serious flaws with the proposal.
We can hope that the Bradford commissioners have the wisdom to accept the science presented by two unbiased experts regarding this controversial business proposal which puts our river and environment at risk.
Ten opponents of the mine spoke out, including Chris Bird, Director of the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, who renewed his offer of assisting Bradford County in any way they could. Others who spoke include Mike Roth, Kate Ellison, Tom Germano, Stasia Rudolph, Carol Mosley, Charlie Trowbridge, Jill McGuire, Paul Still and your historian.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-