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Scott Koons, Executive Director of North Central Florida Regional Planning Council
The Union County Planning and Zoning Board met tonight, August 21, 2017 to conduct a workshop dealing with amendments to the comprehensive plan for development in Union County. A moratorium was placed on accepting mine permit applications in order to revise the county plan. The commissioners acted wisely by placing the moratorium, but HPS II Enterprises attempted to apply for a permit anyway, on July 28, 2017. Perhaps they applied knowing they would be turned down, thinking this would be an excuse for a lawsuit.
Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson Courtney Snyder
Union County is one step ahead of HPS II. They know all about phosphate mines, the dangers, the risks and the consequences. They know phosphate is not in short supply and that the world does not need new sources. They know that a phosphate mine would change forever the way of life in Union Co., and that heavy water pumping would likely ruin New River. They know that this mine company does not play by the rules, and that they drilled wells on other people’s property, not even knowing where their land is.
Carol Mosley Kate Ellison
Five people spoke in favor of the mine, one outsider from Tallahassee, but the rest were local land owners, and most were concerned about property rights. They felt that it was their constitutional right to mine their land.
About twice that number spoke against the mine, and several felt that no one had the right to use their property to infringe on or negatively affect the rights of others, and that the mine would do precisely that.
John Lake Joanna Pakula
Immediately following the workshop, the regular commission meeting was held. Here Mr. Koons presented his work for the board’s consideration, which the accepted. These amendments will be presented at public hearings for input, the first of which is likely Sept. 18.
Since HPS II had submitted an application for a mining permit, this was voted on and this was summarily rejected by a unanimous vote because of the moratorium in effect. County Attorney Russell Wade was asked to draft a letter to Alachua County accepting their offer of legal resources. Union County expects a legal challenge from HPS II.
Most of the speakers expressed appreciation to the board for their intelligent and sincere efforts to follow the will of the people of Union County, as well as those who value the river and the environment. OSFR joins those in commending the efforts of these fine leaders, so rarely seen in places of authority.
Many others opposing the mine were there, including OSFR members Jane Blaise, Walter Bickmeyer, Cindy Noel, your historian,and many others of CAPM or supporters, Dr. Steve Pieczenik, Mark Lyons, Gayle Robertson and husband Chris, Becky Parker,Cindy North and daughter, Carol Burton, Tom Wells, Dana and Max.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Debriefing after the meeting.