Huge New Mining Operation in Santa Fe River Basin

mines3 ELEVEN SQUARE MILES NEAR THE RIVERS

A new  mining operation near the southeastern and southwestern corners of Union and Bradford Counties, respectively, has been in the works for two or three years.  Not a small operation, the projected area is about 7,400 acres, or 11.56 square miles.  Reportedly, some of the operations will be within one quarter mile of the Santa Fe River, and most if not all lies within the New River/Santa Fe basins.  Thus an immediate concern is for the aquifer and springsheds, as well as direct, physical flow into these streams.  Radioactive water entering New River and the Santa Fe is a concern.

The owners of the land are Jack Hazen, John Carl Howard, Shadd family, and Jon Pritchett and their  company name is HHPS Enterprises, LLC.  It appears that they do not intend to have holding ponds on site, and so will ship the material elsewhere for processing at a new facility as yet undisclosed.  Although the location of the actual mining operation may not be using a tremendous amount of water (they intend to do something advanced in terms of water use) the new processing facility will likely use millions of gallons of water for production.
They say this is for fertilizer, to feed the world.  It would seem that any business that “feeds the world” gets a pass.  Projected date for beginning mining operations is 2018.

While OSFR fully recognizes the advantage of new jobs and boosting the economy of this rural area,  someone must speak for the river and the fragile karst system which houses our most precious natural resource, the aquifer.  Maintaining its purity and viability is paramount and far supersedes any monetary gain by the mine owners or the counties.

The current mindset regarding “Public Interest” held by our judges, DEP and water management authorities of necessity must be turned around and re-interpreted to actually define the public as the inhabitants of the environment, and not one or a few individuals who would seek to gain money by destroying what rightfully belongs to all.  Even though they may own the land, they do not have the right to pollute, contaminate and use up our springs, rivers, and groundwater.

What can concerned citizens do to help protect the Santa Fe River from this threat?  You can attend county commissioner meetings as follows:

Monday Feb. 15, 4:30 pm, 55 W. Main St. #103, Lake Butler, Florida

Thursday, Feb. 18, 6:30 pm, Bradford Co. Courthouse, 945 North Temple Ave, Starke, Florida

Sign the petition: The link to this petition is: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/313/461/031/citizens-against-phosphate-mining-in-union-and-bradford-counties/

 

Following are images of an article appearing in the Union County Times on Jan. 21, 2016.  (apologies for the images instead of text–the article was not online.)Scroll

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1 Comment

  1. We do not support phosphate mining in this area. I have studied the problems associated with strip mining for phosphate thus I realize this mining outcome in not good for the land owners or property owners in Florida.

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