Company files suit against Union County in mining battle

Union Ken Cornell In: Company files suit against Union County in mining battle | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell addresses the Union Co. commissioners, informing them of the dangers of phosphate mines. May 15, 2017.

The Gainesville Sun has an article dealing with the proposed phosphate mine in Union and Bradford Counties.  According to what is written below, HPS II seems to believe that their property rights  extend to putting the aquifer and local rivers at risk.

We believe HPS II has the right to dig holes in their land, but the problem is that phosphate mines can and have caused spills and sinkholes which contaminate the aquifer, pollute rivers, and kill wildlife.  HPS II’s property does not extend to the aquifer and the rivers.  In addition, phosphate mines can and have gone  bankrupt, leaving an environmental mess behind that taxpayers much clean up.  HPS II has already violated rules, indicating they are either incompetent or lacking in respect for the law.  It seems likely that their lawyers will discover that the Bert J. Harris Private Property Protection Act will not serve them in this case.

We also believe Union County has the right to decide what industry may or may not operate in their jurisdiction.

Read the entire article in the Gainesville Sun at this link.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-


Company files suit against Union County in mining battle

Posted Feb 4, 2018 at 4:43 PM Updated Feb 4, 2018 at 4:44 PM

The battle between Union County officials and a company established to mine for phosphates in the county is now a legal one.

The company, HPS II Enterprise, filed a lawsuit last Monday against Union County through the Florida Eighth Judicial Circuit in hopes that the court will force the county’s hand in deciding how to proceed with accepting and processing applications for special-use permits that would let the company mine for phosphates in the county.

Last month, Union County commissioners voted to extend through February 2019 its moratorium on such permits, but HPS officials contend in the lawsuit that the moratorium, which is entering its third year, “is wholly unreasonable and has no rational relationship” with the county reviewing its existing comprehensive plan and map.

“The true underlying purpose of the moratorium was to prevent HPS from engaging in mining activities,” the suit reads.

“The right to due process and the ability to reasonably use one’s own property are cornerstones of American democracy, enshrined centuries ago in the U.S. and Florida constitutions,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that since Union County developed its comprehensive plan in 1991, it has treated mining as an allowable use of property in designated areas. It also states that HPS, in an attempt to mine for phosphate on its property, has gone to great lengths to ensure its proposed operation is consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan and land development regulations.

With the filing of the lawsuit, HPS has abandoned attempts to use an independent mediator to negotiate an agreement to settle the issue.

According to the lawsuit, HPS was hopeful the mediation route would eliminate “the potential for costly and unnecessary litigation. However, it is now clear that the county is not interested in fulfilling its statutory duties to work with local constituents.”

As a consequence, according to the lawsuit, the matter will be resolved in court in order to preserve the private property rights of local landowners.

Meanwhile, Bradford County officials are moving forward with reviewing an application by HPS to mine for phosphates in the rural county northeast of Alachua County.

The issue isn’t scheduled to be discussed at any Bradford County Commission meetings or public hearings in the near future, Sexton said.

Attempts to reach Union County Attorney Russ Wade and other Union County officials were unsuccessful Thursday and Friday.

5 Comments

  1. Union county already has that gigantic, grotesque landfill off 121. God knows what’s leaking into the ground there. My neighbor told me the people had tried to fight it “but you can’t fight that kind of money”. Hopefully that won’t be true again with this phosphate mine abomination.

    PS: It’s not just evil corporations trashing the planet. As the population explosion continues out of control, all our other problems multiply as well, as the other species get wiped off the face of the earth. Time to snap out of it.

  2. Once again the Devil has set his sites on people who are suppose to be what we call People of God. These people who are trying so hard to destroy our county; are the same ones who go to ever Church event they can find. They have also bought property in or around where the digging could take place. Which in turn will fill their pockets with dollars. The funny side of all of this, they are unleashing dangers they have no idea. Just because they have purchased land in an area of Union County far enough away from the dig site; they believe they will be safe. You People who are holding hands with HPSII INC. I am so ashamed of you. Taking life from our Union County.

  3. According to what I have heard, this company is suppose to be utilizing a new form of mining that will be safe for the environment. Now we all have seen the results of mine when we drive from Lake City to Jasper and that is not what we want for our county. So where is this new form of mining currently being utilized at? How long has it been being used? Can you show me test results for 5 years, 10 years or longer that prove conclusively that the mining is safe? I would like to go to that area and see what it looks like. I would like to see ground water test results that show what affect if any the mining is having on the aquifer and ground water. I would like to see test results on the flora and fauna in that area. I would like to talk to people that live there to see what their opinions are. I would like to see the EPA reports on the mining that this company is wanting to use in our county.
    I understand that the land belongs to private owners. And that as private owners they have the right to do what they want to on their property. Guess a meth lab owner feels the same way, or a drug dealer. I realize that some are going to point out that the drug dealer and meth lab are illegal. But my comparison was not based on legality but on the potential for being a hazard to those living near them.
    I’m sorry for those owners who are sitting in limbo, who have heavily invested in the project and have probably lost a lot of money because of the stalemate. But we as a community have to, or should I say must, be the watchdogs for our land, water, environment, children and our future!

  4. It always about money. It’s easy to overlook a small county and it’s beautiful water ways and natural beauty when Millions are in your pocket.

Back to top
Skip to content