The phosphate mine proposed by HPS II Enterprises poses a grave and deadly threat to the well-being of the Santa Fe River, and as such OSFR has pioneered the effort to oppose it. Other groups such as Citizens Against Phosphate Mining, Sierra Club and Bradford Environmental Forum also are working to this end. Alachua County has gone on record as saying it would do “whatever it takes” to stop the mine, and they have tagged millions if needed to that end.
From the beginning, Union County has had the wisdom and foresight to stop this threat at its inception and remains staunchly opposed today. But we all know that commissions can quickly change and nothing can be safely taken for granted.
Bradford County has a long and checkered history with HPS II, but generally has been favorable to permitting the mine, with some commissioners at times expressing the opinion that the mine would be the economic salvation for the county. As such, the composition of the board of commissioners is crucial to acquisition or denial of the mine permit.
The Bradford Co. Board of Commissioners will change this Nov. as there are candidates running for election in Districts 1, 3, and 5. Incumbent Chris Dougherty (R) is, at this point, unopposed in District 3.
District 1 will have a new commissioner as incumbent Ross Chandler is not renewing his candidacy. Candidates in this district are the following:
Sim Oliver Crum (D), when asked about the mine first cautiously said he was neutral until he found out more about it, but later said the mine “…would be bad for the environment.”
James “Bat” McNeal (D) was not available for comment and did not return calls.
Carolyn Brown Spooner (D) stated that she would support what is “…safe for the environment.” We are sorry to note that Ms. Spooner misspelled Santa Fe four times in her bio. However, Ms. Spooner has a strong service background which includes being the Chair of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, and a city commissioner of Starke. She appears to be exceptionally qualified for the position.
Robby Stokley (R) was hesitant to make a statement but then said he would decide after he had studied the issue more. In our telephone conversation our intuition read support for the mine, although we have no hard evidence for this.
District 5 has the following candidates:
Diane Andrews (R) Was not reached after multiple calls and did not return messages. Rumor has it that she decided to run for commissioner solely to fight the mine.
Frank Durrance (R) incumbent, was not reached by phone and did not return messages.
Carol Mosley, (NPA) is a strong and passionate mine opponent who has worked long and tirelessly to stop this threat. She is a founding member of the Bradford Environmental Forum, has attended most of the commission meetings, has spoken forcefully and frequently against the mine, and has also published op-eds in the local newspaper. She also spends time researching the permit process and has traveled to Tallahassee to meet with the Department of Environmental Protection.
Glenn Ritch Sr. (R) cattle rancher stated that he supports the mine.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum