The Bradford County commissioners met tonight for their regular second-Thursday meeting. They heard about the mine, not once, but four times. They know the health dangers of the mine, the risk to the river, the destruction of wildlife, endangered and common, the needless use of water we don’t have, the end of the way of life in Bradford County, and possibly a wider area.
They know of the support for the permit moratorium, offered from many directions, especially those adjacent to and downstream from Bradford County. A few of these are the cities of Lake Butler, High Springs, Union County, Columbia County, and especially Alachua County, who has advised Bradford that they will sue if the permit were to be issued. You can be sure more groups than Alachua would be in that lawsuit.
We had excellent speakers tonight, Kate Ellison, Charlie Trobridge, Becky Parker who handed out a petition of over three thousand signatures to the commissioners, yours truly and powerhouse Carol Mosley of Graham, some of whose comments we have included below, with her permission.
Little was learned tonight of any progress by the commissioners toward accepting or rejecting the pending application. County Attorney Will Sexton quizzed the board on an acceptable date for the Alachua commissioners to come to Starke for a joint meeting and several were offered, likely to be in Feb. or March.
Apparently the mine will not be on the agenda, but we must come and speak our piece once again, and give support to the far-thinking Alachua commissioners. The meeting will be public, and, according to Counselor Sexton, will be a friendly, get-to-know-each-other session which will begin a dialog between the two boards, now that new legislation has allowed county commissions to meet outside the boundaries of their jurisdictions.
During the board comments, Commissioner Chandler voiced concerns that the agenda be known ahead of time, and was so assured by Chairman Riddick.
Here we have included a few excerpts of the comments and points made to the commissioners by Carol Mosley of nearby Graham, Florida.
I believe the previous vote against the moratorium is INVALID for the following reasons combined.
- The fact that the decision was made at an emergency meeting where Hazen/HPS was allowed to testify without citizens being notified and despite obvious public concerns not being discussed and considered in advance of such an impactful decision.
- You made your decision based on assurances by Hazen that HPS would not rush permits and would work with the County Commission AND the people’s concerns. You made the decision based on a lie. Whether his promises constitute a fraud or not, I don’t know. But it should matter to you.
- Two of five voting commissioners are no longer on the County Commission so we have no way to know what they were told privately by HPS. And, the two NEW County Commissioners never voted at all.
- The public was deceived by our own County Commission when we were told that we would get our answers at the scheduled workshop that they KNEW was to be canceled because of Hazen’s broken promise and pulling of permits that very day.
This County Commission needs to invalidate the previous votes against the moratorium.
Finally, I object to Bradford County paying tens of thousands of dollars for a consultant when free services are being offered by geologists and engineers through Alachua County. Union County is wisely taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity.
I’ll leave you with this thought: “We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we BORROW it from our children.” Thank you.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-