All the public speakers were against the phosphate mine. Before the Commissioners decided, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson spoke about rain, the Chemours mine, and how what Bradford County does affects her business downstream. (I think Stasia Rudolph also spoke before I got there.) After some confusion on timing, afterwards Marc Lyons reminded them Citizens Against Phosphate Mines (CAPM) is ready to sue, and Kate Ellison said she hopes this means we will all see the consultant’s report before the public hearings. I sent a letter and a resolution the previous day and gave them paper copies.
This Tuesday, Bradford County Commissioners will schedule a public hearing on the phosphate mine application by HPS II. You can go speak or write them a letter.
If the creek don’t rise, I will be there with a video camera. Meanwhile, I have sent them a letter in PDF and an updated copy of the Resolution Against Phosphate Mines in Florida. That Resolution only had five signatures when I last sent it to Bradford BOCC in May, but now 11 of the 14 Waterkeepers of Florida have signed it, and seven of us delivered it to FDEP Secretary Noah Valenstein at the end of July.
When: 9:30 AM Tuesday September 4, 2018
BRADFORD COUNTY COURTHOUSE
945 North Temple Avenue, Starke, Florida 32091
What: on the agenda:
- County Attorney’s Report’s — Will Sexton
- Schedule the Public Hearing on Application for Special Permit for Mining (Sec. 14.6, LDR’s) submitted on behalf of HPS Enterprise II, LLC.
Also on the agenda is: Continue reading
Floridians, please get out and vote today, and in November.
We are fortunate here in the Suwannee River Basin. We don’t have cyanobacteria blooming from glyphosate in our rivers with dead fish stinking tens of miles inland.
But we do have plenty of environmental problems. When you vote in the primary today (if you haven’t already voted early), and as you vote in the general election in November, you may want to ask yourself about each candidate, from city council to County Commissioner to school board to statehouse to statewide official to governor, and don’t forget judges:
- Do they support banning fracking?
- Do they oppose more phosphate mines?
- Will they help stop fertilizer leaching into our springs and rivers, including getting financial and other support for the Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs)?
- Will they help us all find out how E. coli and fecal coliform are getting into our rivers and wells, and from where, by assisting in water quality monitoring, and will they then do something about it?
- Will they hold accountable those who produced coal ash and get them to dispose of it responsibly?
- Will they oppose fossil fuel pipelines, and do something about the safety of those that exist?
- Will they help rein in the rogue agency FERC, including about oversight of liquid natural gas (LNG) export?
- Will they help the Sunshine State get on with solar power, so that nobody has to be without power for weeks after a hurricane, and we can shut down more fossil fuel power plants and close some pipelines?
These are just some of the issues WWALS deals with all the time. You don’t have to know about all these issues; every one of them is important. You may have other environmental issues.
If you don’t know how the candidates stand on these issues, maybe you’d like to ask them before November. Still, some of them must have stated positions before the primary today.
Sure, the economy matters, but how many jobs do polluted springs and rivers bring? Do people come to Florida to smell rotting fish from their vacation or permanent homes? There is no economy without an environment, and water is the basis of it all, including public health.
Seven of us Waterkeepers of Florida met with FDEP last month:
…to express serious concern and a sense of urgency to protect and restore Florida’s rivers, coast, bays, estuaries, lakes, springs, and aquifer.
As demonstrated by Hurricane Irma, major storms deteriorate water quality, threaten human health, and undermine Florida’s economy. Absent more proactive action and investment in becoming more resilient, water quality protection, and adaptation efforts, Florida’s economy, environment, and public health will suffer.
We should all care about what is happening in south Florida. Obviously because those are people just like us who live there, not to mention the wildlife and the rest of the ecology, and what happens there affects the economy of the rest of Florida and the nation.
After Hurricane Irma, Lowndes County, Georgia, where I live, gained 100 new residents from Florida. (That’s right: Suwannee Riverkeeper lives in Georgia. Rivers can’t read; they don’t know somebody drew a state line on a map.) If the south Florida situation continues or gets worse, people will move north. Many of them will move to north Florida or south Georgia, further affecting our waters.
So don’t forget about candidates:
- Do they support stopping the destruction of south Florida’s lakes, rivers, and coasts by fertilizer and pesticides from big agriculture and lawns?
As an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity, WWALS cannot support or oppose any specific candidate for office. But we can bring issues to your attention.
And we can say, please go vote, today and in November!
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
Seven of the fourteen Florida Waterkeepers visited the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to express our serious concern and a sense of urgency to protect and restore Florida’s rivers, coast, bays, estuaries, lakes, springs, and aquifer, especially about resiliency after hurricanes, harmful algal blooms, BMAPs, and phosphate mines. I congratulated Noah Valenstein on his meteoric rise: only two and a half years ago he was just starting as head of the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), and now he’s the head of FDEP.
L-R: Andy Hayslip (Tampa Bay Waterkeeper), Georgia Ackerman (Apalachicola Riverkeeper), Marty Baum (Indian Riverkeeper), Jen Lomberk (Matanzas Riverkeeper), Drew Bartlett (Deputy Secretary for Ecosystem Restoration, FDEP), Whitney Gray (Administrator, Florida Resilient Coastlines, FDEP), Rick Frey (St. Marys Riverkeeper), Lisa Rinaman (St. Johns Riverkeeper), Noah Valenstein (Secretary, FDEP), Shannon Blankinship (Advocacy Director, St. Johns Riverkeeper), John S. Quarterman (hat, Suwannee Riverkeeper), Tom Frick (back, Director, Division of Environmental Restoration, FDEP); Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS
The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Mosaic Co., market cap $11.5 billion, just lost to DeSoto County, Florida, annual budget $84.3 million. Maybe this will help Bradford County to do the right thing about phosphate mines.
Craig Pittman, Tampa Bay Times, 26 July 2018, Mosaic spent 20 years planning new phosphate mine. DeSoto County has rejected it,
Mosaic Co., the world’s largest phosphate company, has spent two decades lining up a new mine in DeSoto County as part of a broader effort to move its operations south.
But DeSoto County commissioners last week slammed the door in the company’s face, voting 4-1 against rezoning 18,000 acres from agricultural to mining.
A major concern: Continue reading
Thanks to Jim Tatum of OSFR for spotting this op-ed in the Lake City Reporter yesterday by WWALS member and Practicing Geologist Dennis J. Price of Hamilton County, Florida about Nutrien (PCS) mining phosphate and water in Hamilton County and likely planning to expand to Columbia County.
Photo by John S. Quarterman of Dennis J. Price at the Dead River of the Alapaha River, 2018-01-27.
To the Editor:
Much has been written in the last year about Sam Oosterhoudt’s mitigation bank. I was involved in permitting the bank through the Army Corps (ACOE) and The Florida Department of Environmental Regulation. It took about 5 years to get all the permits. Now, 9 years after work began on the project, the phosphate company (then PCS now Nutrien) petitioned the state to shut down the mitigation bank.
I do not know for sure, but, Nutrien may tell you that during the recent sale of PCS and the review of mineral interests owned, they discovered that the mitigation bank had snuck in there and set up shop over their minerals. This probably has some truth to it but I think there is a much more involved reason.
In Hamilton County, Nurtrien/PCS is planning to run out of phosphate to mine in about 10 years, give or take a few years either way. I do not believe they are planning on shutting the doors and leaving. Occidental Chemical Company started mining in Hamilton County Continue reading
U.C. Berkeley student Alan Toth made a film about environmental concerns embroiling a small town in North Florida.
Mining Phosphorus explores the subject of phosphate mining in Florida. Phosphate rock is our main source of phosphorus, one of the most critical elements in modern agriculture, but the practice of mining phosphate produces significant environmental concerns, including literal mountains of toxic waste.
You will probably recognize many of the people in this trailer. In the first view of protesters, there’s Continue reading
The phosphate mine agenda item he expected for Gilchrist BOCC this afternoon is not there, Mike Roth, President of Our Santa Fe River (OSFR), called to say. So I’m not going. Instead I sent them the letter you see below (see also PDF).
June 18, 2018
To: Gilchrist Board of County Commissioners
Sharon Langford <email@example.com>,
“D. Ray Harrison” <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Todd Gray <email@example.com>,
Marion Poitevint <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Kenrick Thomas <email@example.com>,
Cc: County Administrator Bobby Crosby <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Re: Phosphate mines
Dear Chairman, Commissioners, and staff,
While I applaud your decision to discuss opioid litigation at your meeting today, I was a little surprised to find Continue reading
Mike Roth, president of Our Santa Fe River, requests:
On Monday, June 18, at the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners meeting in Trenton which starts at 4PM, we will get the opportunity to appeal to the Board to issue a “letter of concern” regarding the phosphate mine applied for in Bradford and Union Counties. As you certainly know, OSFR has stood in opposition to this mine on the grounds that it is a substantial threat to the health of the Santa Fe River and to all those who live by the river and all those who use the river recreationally. Further, it threatens the aquifer that is recharged by the river and as such, anyone and anything that uses groundwater.
When: 4PM (hearing 4:45 PM), Monday, June 18, 2018
Where: Board of County Commissioners Meeting Facility,
210 South Main Street, Trenton, Florida
What: Letter of concern about HPS II Phosphate Mine in Bradford and Union Counties, Florida
Gilchrist County Commissioners from left to right: Sharon A. Langford, Kenrick Thomas, Todd Gray, D Ray Harrison, Jr., and Marion Poitevint
Gilchrist County is downstream Continue reading
Received May 27, 2018 from WWALS member Chris Mericle:
The Hamilton County BOCC finally at its last meeting (May 15) voted on the Nutrien 5 year permit renewal.
The BOCC voted to approve the permit with the modifications recommended by the environmental consultant and attorney.
I consider this a win for us because it requires Nutrien to: Continue reading