Short meeting at the Bradford County BOCC on Oct. 20, 2016, with all commissioners and staff on board, but no press. Only your OSFR representative was present to speak against the mine. The past two sessions we have intended to explain how studies from Columbia University show that we have no scarcity of phosphate, and thus, absolutely no need to rip up Bradford County to fill the pockets of HPS II.
However, Mosaic keeps providing news, something like so and so writing his own jokes, providing plenty of free ammunition. This refers to the seven contaminated wells found off-site from Mosaic, and just recently, the poisoned water spill at their Plant City fertilizer operation. So if Mosiac provides no new examples to show what HPS might do to our river, perhaps on Nov. 7, we can explain the excessive phosphate supply.
Since there is not much else to share, we have included our message delivered to Chairman Eddie Lewis and his colleagues.
Oct. 20, Bradford BOCC
When the Mosaic mine sinkhole opened up, Mosaic owners and the Department of Environmental Protection covered it up from the public, but they were caught about 3 weeks later. They said they covered it up because no one was in danger and the contamination did not spread beyond their land. This is now proven untrue.
Now we see at least seven wells nearby have unacceptably high levels of radiation. When contamination is in the aquifer, it spreads unpredictably with an unknown time frame and unknown geographical area. We expect we may hear more about this later, as the contamination spreads underground in the aquifer.
Had the sinkhole not been discovered by a Tampa TV station, we wonder when or if the people living nearby would have been notified that their water was at risk? Mosaic and the DEP have failed miserably in their responsibilities.
Now we see a new spill at Mosaic’s fertilizer plant near Plant City. Again, Mosaic says “residents should not be concerned” as the spill is contained on their property, just as they said about the sinkhole, which was untrue. Dumping poisons on the ground means poisons going into our aquifer. Even if they own the land, they do not have he right to dump poisons on it.
We wonder if the Mosaic profit-makers would drink the water from these wells. Would they bathe their children in it.? They contaminate our aquifer but they go elsewhere to try to find water to sustain their bodies. Florida is letting industry slowly ruin our aquifer. Mosaic is a danger to the health of people of Florida and should be shut down. They are unable to operate safely, and we do not need their phosphate.
These and previous incidents prove that it is impossible to have a safe phosphate mine on the banks of the Santa Fe River. The concerns for the safety of the river are increased because HPS II Enterprises is a new company with no experience in what it is trying to do. They have proven to break the rules and cut corners, disregarding proper legal procedures.
They already have three violations in the short time they have been in business. They were cited on March 15, 2016 by the Suwannee River Water Management District for engaging in dredge and fill activities in wetlands with no permits, making illegal drainage ditches. They admitted, also in March, to the construction of 38 water wells without permits, and in June, 2016, they were cited for digging a well without permission on property they did not own.
These violations are the earmarks of a company which has no regard for obeying regulations which exist to protect the welfare of others. This irresponsible company should not be allowed to put at risk the natural resources which we all enjoy and from which our community benefits. The Santa Fe River and surrounding springs are the engine which drives our economy and brings people to our area. Please don’t put them at risk so a few people can make money.
Once the aquifer is contaminated, it cannot be restored in our lifetime.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-