Comment of Millie Smith

April 8, 2015

April 8, 2015

Good afternoon.

I am writing Fox News at the request of my father.

My father lives in Brooksville and he is a 100% service connected disabled veteran.  He lives just off of Fort Dade and Cortez Blvd and has lived there since 1992.   CEMEX seeks to change the comprehensive land use plan on 728 acres fronting Cortez Boulevard across from Bayfront Hospital to Fort Dade Avenue on the north from agricultural to mining.  For the next 20 years, he’d live with open pit lime rock mining that would include blasting and removal of the existing pine forest, grassland, and wetland habitat adjacent to the historic African American Spring Hill Cemetery and near over 150 residents.  An industrial conveyor belt would move all the limerock over the scenic “protected” Fort Dade Avenue canopy road. I don’t know if Fox News has covered this story as it was just brought to my attention yesterday.  CEMEX  states on their website “Act with Integrity” –“We act with honesty and transparency in all our interactions because we care for our people, for our communities and for our natural resources.”  I have researched all morning the affects that this “mining” could have on the families  living in this area.  This will surely affect the property value of my dad’s home and land but more importantly, it will DEFINITELY affect my dad’s heath.


As I stated, my dad is a 100 % service connected disabled veteran with chronic breathing problems.  He uses oxygen and a scooter as he suffers from shortness of breath on a regular basis.  In doing my research this morning on the materials, silica dust can impede breathing and cause respiratory irritation, cough, airway obstruction and poor lung function.  Silica related lung disease is incurable and can be fatal.  People come in contact with the silica dust when the silica dust blows off of the mine sites and off of the backs of the trucks. People who are exposed to silica dust can be at risk for silicosis even if the dust is not visible to the eye.  IF the dust is visible, the risk is almost definite.  I also read that Crystalline forms of silica are known human carcinogens.


The life of my father and the lives of nearby residents have been diminished by the current mining operations further north of this parcel and they expected the mining to be completed, rather than expanded closer to their homes. The residents have endured: noise and blasting, dust, lights, vibration waves and tremors that cause damage to homes, air pollution from silica dust that threatens their health, environmental impacts, habitat loss, changes in the community character and unsightly landscapes that have reduced their quality of life and been destructive to the character and integrity of the existing residential environment. All of these impacts can be expected to worsen and increase over the next 20 years if the land use plan is amended to allow more mining in this area.


If Fox News has not done a segment on this issue, I beg of you to please bring this topic to the public.  The NeighborsAgainstMining has been working on a petition but I feel that Fox News can bring attention to an issue that will most definitely affect so many people.


Thank you for your attention in bringing this concern to the public.


Millie Smith


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