On December 9th the Hernando County Commission will hear the rezoning appeal of Cemex Corporation to allow it to expand its lime rock mining operation to the property across SR50 from Brooksville Hospital. The property is now zoned agricultural.
The first question that the commission should ask itself is whether or not the mining operation is compatible with the neighborhood. The operation is noisy but only during the daytime when residents in the area are often enjoying the otherwise serene outdoors. This would be disrupted, making it much less pleasant to the neighbors. There will be blasting, and water quality issues.
Do we really want Cemex for a neighbor? Some argue that we need the jobs, and we do. But do we need a Mexican company that takes its profits back to Mexico, who fails to report its gross violations of air quality, that to spews 10 times the amount of Mercury into the air poisoning its local workers and its neighbors as it did in 2009? Do we really want a company that, after poisoning our air, wants to deny the county its Personal Property Taxes as they did in 2010 and 11?
Strip mining is NOT a clean, harmless industry. It removes the pristine land and forests, takes its product with the promise that it will make nice and leave the area covered and safe. But what if it doesn’t? Can we chase Cemex to Mexican courts? Mining requires hundreds of additional, slow, heavy trucks tearing up the local roads, slowing traffic, spewing toxic exhaust, and creating more noise. Do we really want more of this?
Finally, there is the challenge presented by the concept of zoning and a master land use plan. When a person purchases property to build a home, they must believe that the neighborhood will not become industrial while they are still using it as a residence. They must believe that the government will keep its promise to use the surrounding land as it has determined would be the best use. It must not feel the commission will leave the home owner to fight the Mexican corporation on their own. To find for Cemex will label the county as unfriendly to residential development.
Cemex has not been a good neighbor in the past. There is no reason to believe they will be a good neighbor in the future. The commission must support the residents of the county against the foreign corporation.
Florida New Flash welcomes your letters and opinions. The “Opinion” page is provided to the community so that they may express their concerns and opinions on local matters that affect them. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily the opinions of Florida News Flash or that of its editorial staff or employees.