Concerns regarding CEMEX blasting impacts

April 14, 2015

Presented to the Hernando County Commission on Tuesday, April 14 during Citizen Comment

Blasting Comments

CEMEX CPAM 1102                                                                                                                 April 14, 2015

My name is DeeVon Quirolo and I speak for Neighbors Against Mining to address the CEMEX application for a comp plan amendment. CEMEX has failed to provide competent evidence regarding the protection of area residents, the historic cemetery, and the hospital from the impacts of mining and blasting in this area.

We filed a public records request to obtain and analyze noise reports generated by CEMEX at Hernando County residences near mining during the past five years. Systems analyst Diane Oriza compiled the results. Diane, Dennis Clark, formerly with the Federal Bureau of Mines, and I reviewed our findings with the Fire Marshall’s Office.   It appears that some reports may have been manipulated so as not to trigger violations and other violations have not been reported. Reports have been withheld, and complaints from residents have gone unreported. Based on this history of apparent violations and cover ups, there is no reason to expect CEMEX to protect us from future blasting impacts.

Fla Administrative Code Rule 69A states that peak particle velocity of blasts shall not exceed 0.50 inches per second for areas with more than 20 residences within a two-mile radius. Yet the Fire Marshall said the threshold being applied statewide except Dade County is 0.75 inches per second.   Yet the Geosonics monitoring devices for CEMEX apply thresholds that vary.   Many apply the .75 threshold; some apply the .50 threshold for the same monitoring device, while others apply .80, .85, or .90.

There is no regular monitoring of these blasting activities. State Fire Marshall Kevin McCarthy said “The blast activities reports are required to be maintained by the mines. They are reviewed annually by the division of State Fire Marshall for compliance with all applicable statues and rules.”   The Fire Marshall who delivered the 5 years of mining reports told me he had never reviewed them and he is the only one assigned to Hernando County mines. He said that CEMEX is required to self-report, but no violations have been reported.

Our request for public records wasn’t good enough to get reports dated March 4th, 2013 and July 9th, 2013.   Geosonics refused even though Chapter 69A requires that “the results of ground vibration and air blast measurements be submitted upon request, to the division”.   It says “The following acts constitute cause for disciplinary action: Falsifying any record required pursuant to CH 552 FS and any rule or code adopted pursuant thereto.”   Futhermore, residents have complained about blasting impacts, some about noise at night. Fla. Administrative Code requires that the permit holder “report all complaints to the authority issuing the permit.” CEMEX has never reported a single complaint.

Mining expert Dennis Clark says the hospital will be affected by the dust and fumes, noise and vibration that will be, not only noticeable, but could be problematic, affecting the integrity of the operation of the hospital. We asked whether a 250′ buffer would be adequate to protect the historic cemetery. The fire marshall suggested clearing the site during blasting.

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