County Commissioners Meeting in Starke

bradford mine sign In: County Commissioners Meeting in Starke | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

The regular meeting of the county commissioners took place today, Dec. 3, 2017 in Starke, with the Bradford County business the topic of discussion.   The mine was not on the agenda.

Alan Toth, documentary filmmaker with  the University of  California Berkeley, was in attendance and filmed the meeting.  He is making a documentary about phosphate mining in Florida, focusing on the resistance to the proposed HPS II phosphate mine.

New in the commission is that Ross Chandler has rotated to chairman of the board.  Today we welcomed Commissioner Chandler to his new position.

Not to let the commissioners forget about the serious mine issue  facing them, your historian was the sole speaker before them today.  The words left with them are as follows:

Regarding the hiring of a consultant, OSFR has no position, but speaking for myself, I do not see any reason to spend money for this.  I have no ax to grind with the consulting company, but they have no experience with mining.  You were elected to make decisions for the county, and if you spend a few hours Googling phosphate mining you can learn enough to make a decision.  That is your job and you don’t need to pay someone else to do it for you.

More importantly, that the county is considering accepting money from HPS II to pay or partially pay for a consulting firm, is totally inappropriate.  You have carefully distanced yourselves from accepting outside assistance from Alachua Co. and the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, yet you are considering accepting funds from the most interested party.  This is unethical and unacceptable.

I would like to leave you with one more thought.  We have heard arguments supporting the mine which say ”all we have in Hamilton County is the PCS mine.”  Or, “Mosaic is the only employer we have down here.” Stop and ask yourself, why is that?  What else is left after a mine comes in?  And in the case of Hamilton County, where the phosphate is now running out, what will happen then?  What is left?  If we think of our future, we will not want a mine.   If you think the mine will make Starke a boom town, please go visit White, Springs, visit Mulberry to see how booming they are. 

No company has the right to put at risk our natural resources.  Phosphate companies get permits to draw down our aquifer and dry up our wells and our springs, and they have accidents that pour poison into our drinking water.  They do not have the right to contaminate our world in their quest to make money.  No product that they produce is more valuable than our springs and rivers.  We need our natural resources more than we need phosphate and fertilizer.

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


  1. You don’t want Phosphate mining to come to Bradford or Union counties. I lived in Lakeland Florida. It will not solve your economic problems, but it will contaminated your water and soil. Say No

    1. Mr. Tatum, your articulate voice gave me goosebumps. It hit hard and true. I just don’t understand why this board does not even seemed interested in our future. Water is our most precious resource. As in our fight against an RV Park in a highly sensitive area, the board snoozed and paid no attention to the content provided by extremely educated experts. With no discussion, they unanimously voted to allow the exception so the Park could be built. If reason does not work, it is time to really get behind replacing these commissioners, slowly but surely, until We have folks that want to protect our waters. Thank you for all you do.

      1. Nancy, thanks for your concern. It may be that the commissioners are mistakenly thinking that the mine will solve their economic problems. A little reading will tell them how wrong they are. Bradford County does not have to re-invent the wheel here, they just have to read a little history.
        Please contact the commissioners and tell them your opinion.

  2. Timber companies are no better. They’re selling off lands in environmentally sensitive areas to developers. Look at GP dumping toxic waste by pipeline into water bodies. We must stick together and hold these people accountable!

  3. Jim – we appreciate the tireless efforts on your part to keep us informed. Great news about the documentary film maker who can report on this epic battle between the citizens that cherish the environment/precious water vs. the greedy unenlightened land owners that want to destroy our resources.

    Let them do a solar farm or sell land to a Land Trust if they want $$$ so badly! Heck even timber bamboo might be a decent alternative to strip mining! These land owners should read Toxic Torts by Gary Pittman or the white paper “Death in the Air”.

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