This letter was published in the Bradford Co. Telegraph on May 16, 2019.
Good questions with no answers given.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
WHERE’S THE MONEY? WHERE’S THE REPORT? WHAT’S THE DEAL?
On October 19th, 2017, the County Commission Chairman signed a scope of work with Onsite Environmental Consultants (OEC) to produce a report to help the commissioners make a decision about the plans from HPSII for mining phosphate in Bradford County. HPS agreed to pay the consulting fee, but wanted to eliminate the $12,000 portion to study “Land Use and Regional Planning,” which the County Commissioners agreed to eliminate. So, as of April 2019 the county has paid OEC $36,666.56, but HPS has paid zero and the County has asked them for zero. Why?
On 03/21/19, OEC requested $12,365 MORE to do more work, the County agreed to it, and HPS again agreed to pay it.
Why would the County not ask HPS to pay for the portion they agreed to since those funds have been paid to the consultant already? Why would the County agree to pay more for more consulting on a promise from HPS without asking HPS to fulfill their first promise to pay for what has been already spent?
And speaking of promises unfulfilled, as of May 2019 the HPS website says, “As proud landowners, we will reside on our land throughout the entire mining operation.” That’s what they said in 2016 too. But, we noticed that the maps showing post mining and reclamation land use no longer show the residential areas. When a few of us met with OEC in September 2018 I asked what happened to the houses. Hoyles (OEC) looked at me like I was out of my mind and exclaimed, “Well they’re not gonna live out there in the middle of it all.” “Well, they say they are,” I replied.
Carita Shadd Wall is quoted on the HPSII website as saying, “It is our desire to communicate to our home community the facts and the truth.” So I’m not sure what’s true or not true about the houses. But I certainly think it is past time for the Bradford County Commission to ask HPS to pay for that new total of $53,630 for the consultants as they said they would. Besides, it seems to me that HPS is the primary beneficiary of the consulting studies, not the County.
And the County Commissioners should put an end date to the report from the consultants, originally due in September 2018. It’s time to get the money from HPS and wrap up the report. Any further studies should be done by new eyes of a new company with a real contract, not a vague scope of work. It is long past time to end this ride we’ve been taken on.