As expected, the Hernando County Commission Chambers were packed to over-flowing today. The packed house was due to commissioners consideration of the Cemex mining expansion proposed along Cortez Blvd.
Homeowners, protestors, and environmentalists were the most numerous and by far the most vocal in their efforts to squash the mining expansion plans of the Cemex Company. Joe Lemieux stated in his remarks, “Why does it take three rows of suits (Cemex reps) to convince you (commissioners) that a bad idea is good.”
Employees, attorneys, and supporters of Cemex were also in attendance and showed support for expanding the mining operations. Several employees talked to commissioners about what Cemex meant to them.
Commissioners then addressed specific concerns that had been expressed by citizens during the meeting. During Commissioner Nicholson’s comments, he explained that it would take 3 votes to send the Cemex project to Tallahassee for review by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. If the FDEP approves the expansion, then the matter would come back to the commission for approval. “It will take at least 4 votes to approve the expansion” when it comes back to the board, Nicholson told the audience.
After a very long meeting, commissioners approved sending the matter to Tallahassee. The vote was 4 to 1 with Diane Rowden voting no to send it to Tallahassee. Final approval of the project will come only after FDEP does its due diligence. Until then, the fight will go on.