Ray Fones: Just Say “Charge it” to the Residents of Hernando County

February 9, 2015

February 9, 2014

Externalizing costs is a way businesses maximize their profits by off-loading indirect costs and forcing negative effects to a third party.  American tax payers, for example, spend billions of dollars in tax revenue in the form of food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing so that Walmart and thousands of other businesses can keep wages low and profits high.

Here in Hernando County, CEMEX Construction Materials Florida has applied to change the comprehensive land use plan for Hernando County on 728 acres fronting Cortez Boulevard (State Road 50) to limerock mining.
Potential costs to Hernando County residents include groundwater contamination, sinkholes, increased air pollution, health issues, noise from blasting, increased truck traffic, reduction in property values, destruction of bald eagle and other wildlife habitat, loss of soils and hammock land, degradation of a rare, beautiful and protected canopy road, likely desecration of a historical cemetery, the impact on residential wells, the impact of vibrations on the patients, staff and sensitive medical equipment at Bayfront Health Brooksville across the street from the proposed mining, and the negative impact on tourism.
CEMEX (an international corporation based in Mexico) has been cited for violating environmental laws here in the U.S. and elsewhere, including numerous violations of the Clean Air Act and failing to install modern air pollution controls. In California, this involved high levels of the cancer causing substance chromium VI, the contaminant that inspired the movie, Erin Brockovich.
In South Brooksville, the CEMEX plant is an abandoned eyesore and has become a blighted area, just one of several past mining sites in Hernando.
Who profits from the land use change to mining? Primarily, CEMEX and five wealthy landowners leasing land to CEMEX :  Tommy Bronson, Joe Mason, Jim Kimbrough, Dorsett Powers and Robert Bruckner.
Hernando County needs sustainable economic growth and well paying jobs. Unfortunately, this mining proposal delivers neither. Predictably, our county commission (with the exception of Diane Rowden) rejected a plan to study its economic impact.
Externalizing costs is just one the many ways the system is rigged to benefit a privileged few at the expense of the rest of us. For more information, contact Neighbors Against Mining (http://neighborsagainstmining.org).
Ray Fones
Sixth generation Floridian, resident of Hernando County since 1978

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