Comments of Nature Coast Action Team by President Forrest Bennett

December 4, 2014

The Board of Directors and Donors to the Nature Coast Action Team, Inc. (NCAT) strongly and respectfully urges the BOCC to Vote NO Against CPAM 1102.

The devastating county wide effects of this ill advised and selfish proposal are well known and among others they include:
1.)  Forever turning a 728 acre roadside parcel on the gateway road from 1-75 to Brookesville to the Nature Coast into an ugly scab on the earth.  This critically located project will impede future efforts to market Hernando County as a desirable place for tourism, to raise a family and to attract desirable businesses and quality jobs.  Mining is the worst possible use for this strategic piece of property.
2.)  Forever destroying 375 acres of beautiful and valuable old growth hardwood forest which holds immense value as a wildlife habitat, scenic area and as a groundwater recharge area.
3).  Endangering, if not destroying one of the tourist attractions and scenic treasures of Hernando County – the Fort Dade canopy road.  Whether CEMEX tunnels under it or runs a conveyor belt over it, this proposal will destroy nearby grandfather oaks and other mature trees and years of dust and likely changes to surface and underground water flows will damage much of the vegetation in the area and along this scenic road.
4).  The obvious and disastrous effects on the quality of life for the residents and taxpayers that live in the immediate area and in the path of prevailing winds.  It is outrageous that folks who have made this scenic area their home would be forced to endure industrial conditions for decades and permanent damage to their property values.
5).  The notion that this area, once destroyed, can be “reclaimed” to anything near what it once was is a farce.  In particular, mining in Hernando County has a deplorable record of “reclaiming” the lands they’ve destroyed.  Even the best mining “reclamation” and highly advertised restoration projects of Mosaic in Florida are poor imitations of what was once there.  Once destroyed, no man can reproduce what our Creator has provided us with.
6).  The deleterious and cumulative effects on the health of All residents of Hernando County are multi-fold and backed by many unbiased and well documented environmental and medical research studies.  Among these are silica dust, a known carcinogen and mercury, a neuro-toxin that is poisonous to all but especially damaging to the development of the brains of our infants and children.  It is unconscionable to force the residents of Hernando County to be unwillingly exposed to these and other pollutants on a daily basis for several decades for the selfish gains of a powerful few.
7).  This project will create No New Jobs.  Mining in Hernando County currently provides low paying, low quality jobs for all but a few.  When you look at the average wage figures that CEMEX has provided, the average appears to be a livable income.  However, when you subtract out the top 20% of well paid management, executives and support staff it becomes quite clear that 80% of the employees are paid a wage that is far less desirable.
8).  Even though this project is described as self contained, the increase in heavy truck traffic across the region generated by the mine on our over crowded roads alone, makes this project unacceptable.  As compared to cars and smaller trucks, heavy mining related trucks have a greatly disproportionate negative impact on the lifespan of our roads and bridges, create traffic backups, increase traffic accidents and cause damage to vehicles that are behind them.
9).  Over time, the effect on the quality of life for all citizens from this project will make it much harder to attract affluent homeowners and businesses providing quality, well paying jobs and will likely result in a permanent net loss of jobs and tax revenue, forever stifling quality growth in Hernando County.
10).  The massive profits generated by CEMEX at the expense of all Hernando County residents will not stay in Hernando County.  They will not stay in Florida or even in the United States.  The truckloads of profits will be exported to the CEMEX offices in MEXICO!  Mexico gets the silver; Hernando County gets the shaft.
Fifty years from now when most of us are dead and gone, a history of Hernando County will be written.  If additional mining is approved, historians will note how the decisions made on December 9, 2014 altered the path of Hernando County.
It is up to our current County Commissioners to have the wisdom, vision and political will to deny this destructive project.  Your decisions will be reflected in state of our county in 2064 and in your own personal legacies as leaders and stewards of our community.
Therefore, the Nature Coast Action Team, Inc. (NCAT) strongly and respectfully urges each and every member of the Board of County Commissioners to VOTE NO on CPAM 1102.  Thank you.
Sincerely –
Forrest Bennett
Nature Coast Action Team, Inc. (NCAT)
Protecting the Environment and Quality of Life 
for the Residents of Florida’s Nature Coast
4377 Commercial Way / Suite 134
Spring Hill, FL  34606

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