Presented to Hernando County Commission on April 14th, 2015
Re: CEMEX CPAM 1102
Date: April 14, 2015
Good afternoon. My name is DeeVon Quirolo and I am here as a voter and a resident and as president of Nature Coast Conservation Neighbors Against Mining Project. The Withlacoochee Planning Council “Economic Profile and Impact Analysis of Mining in Hernando County” concluded that: “A continuation of current mining activity will not significantly increase economic activity in Hernando County, and impacts of a gradual decrease in mining activity will also be relatively small.” The report noted that mining activity had dropped approximately 37% in Hernando from 2006 through 2010 and modeled a similar drop in the future but over a longer period.
The point it makes is that whether you approve this new mine or not, we cannot depend upon mining to bring prosperity and growth to Hernando County. We need to pursue a different path than that of the past. What the report did not explore, as a full economic impact study would have done, is that one of our strategic advantages, as the newly ordained “Adventure Coast”, is to promote our natural resources for long term sustainable growth and jobs that will bring prosperity to many in Hernando–not just a Mexican corporation and five local landowners for 20 years. Look at how neighboring counties are growing from tourism.
But mining in this highly visible location will deter such sustainable growth. Hernando is becoming a well-known for our cycling trails. Don’t destroy the Fort Dade Avenue canopy road used by bikers. Don’t allow destruction of the last vestiges of the Annutteliga Hammock and the Brooksville Ridge. Don’t put a new mine across the street from the hospital at the entry to Historic Brooksville, our county seat. Tourists don’t come to see a dying mining town and open pit mines.
You can’t have it both ways. Allowing a mine at this ill-chosen location will compromise the investment to market Hernando County as a nature tourism destination that can provide long term growth. CEMEX has failed to demonstrate a need for this mine at this location at this time. This report says it will not provide a significant economic boost to the county, with no new jobs for a 20 year period. CEMEX has also failed to show that this 20 year “interim” use—an inappropriately long interpretation of the term “interim” by any standard—is consistent with adjacent residential and commercial uses and the historic cemetery and hospital.
Furthermore, if the five property owners cannot attract a developer to this prime piece of real estate now, when the parcel is pristine, what makes you think that they, or more likely their heirs, will be able to develop it for commercial/residential after 20 years of mining and a big pit is left behind that has permanently scarred the land and dewatered what is left of the northern canopy and destroyed the scenic road with a conveyor belt? There will be no incentive to build at this location and it will have sullied the entry to Historic Brooksville. In conclusion, this report demonstrates that there is no economic justification for radically changing the comp plan to allow mining at this location.