Reflections on the CEMEX County Hearing by DeeVon Quirolo

December 10, 2014

County Commission Votes 4-1 to transmit CEMEX land use plan amendment to State for Review

Surreal hearing lasts all day; our speakers came out in force. We wore our no mining name tags, presented 1100 petitions, over 40 people showed up and made strong presentations, presenting expert information and unbiased reports. THANK YOU ALL!!!

Diane Rowden introduces motion to commission economic impact assessment. County attorney Garth Brooks says it is “not appropriate at this point,” Chairman Dukes agrees. No second.

County begins by outlining eleven concerns with application and offers a dozen conditions if approved.

CEMEX gets 45 minutes to parade their paid experts to give opinions and another half hour to rebut public comment during which they continue the parade of paid speakers.

Neighbors requests time to present information from hydrogeology, blasting experts, but are denied.

Dukes hasn’t got the time to read the speaker cards to introduce each speaker; just line up and be quick.

Commission ignors factual review of past blasting reports showing CEMEX has been “fixing” reports to show no violations, (which were never reported as required by law), then presents misleading data of ‘average’ blasts.  Sound expert Barett Bassick points out need to look at peak events that violate blasting laws; is told to be quiet or he’ll be removed from the room by Dukes.  Barett then leaves, saying, ”You’re not listening anyway.”   Then CEMEX disputes fact that state fire marshall requires self-reporting in lieu of state monitoring oversight.

Adkins asks about Peck Sink; CEMEX denies any impact yet this area is within the Peck Sink Watershed. What part of outright removal of ground via open pit industrial mining excavation would not damage that area of Peck Sink?
CEMEX makes more false promises about helping the cemetery.

Dukes wants county or CEMEX to take over cemetery; talk about the wolf guarding the hen house.

Paul Douglas of NAACP rolls over; besmirches their name as an advocate for African Americans.

CEMEX official disputes value of habitat for endangered species because he didn’t see any during his visit there.

CEMEX plans to bring in Disney planners to build conveyor belt. The kings of fantasy entertainment will help protect a natural canopy road from being blighted by a conveyor belt built overhead?

CEMEX disputes county claim for need to mitigate for lost habitat.

CEMEX expert extols virtues of Bay Harbor reclamation; Dave Curtis shows video of local blighted mining “reclamations” and notes By Harbor is currently a brownfields toxic site oozing cement plant toxins into Lake Michigan.

CEMEX official impinges credibility of local medical professionals concerned with health impacts.

Commissioner Holcomb asks about fines; CEMEX says “none” despite DEP report of $2 million paid in fines for Brooksville plant.

Commissioner Nicholson disputes Neighbors presentation of cemetery map (from CEMEX application) showing it surrounded by mining parcel and also disputes hydrogeologist Noah Kugler’s analysis showing water quality decline and contamination; calls Neighbors statements “Misstatements.”

County attorney dismisses claim of karst geology and sinkholes even as property survey in CEMEX application identifies them; CEMEX says that information was flawed.

Nicholson makes the motion and commissioners, except Diane Rowden, vote to approve transmitting this plan to the state for review. Adkins unsure which way he voted but plans to get county commission to do economic impact study.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

David Curtis December 12, 2014 at 6:27 pm
David Curtis December 12, 2014 at 8:48 pm

I was at the hearing and delivered my piece as a Power Point. Here’s the text I read into the mic (or tried to – 3 minutes isn’t long enough for a real comment).

Click here for the link to the Power Point itself:

Hello, my name is David Curtis, owner of Brooksville Computer, here in Brooksville.

CEMEX claims that after 20 years of mining we can look forward to a beautiful renewal of the mined properties via reclamation. However, since there is no public record of the lease agreement between CEMEX and the property owners, the county and the public have no assurance of who will be responsible for this grand endeavor.

So, given that CEMEX has a long history of mining here in Hernando, let’s take a look at other mining sites throughout Hernando County to see what we can expect.

(flip through current mining)

Now we come to what we can expect after the mining operations are done.

(flip through past mines and describe what’s wrong)


And how about the South Brooksville facility that has become a real eyesore? Wouldn’t you think CEMEX could do a better job on that property? Why don’t they just donate it to the city so we can have a park for the folks in that neighborhood instead of this blighted site. So we are dubious about the promise of reclamation.

CEMEX promoted Bay Harbor in Petosky Michigan as an example of reclamation, but that site, which was once a tony resort, is now the largest brownfields clean-up project in the United States. Toxic ooze from huge underground piles of toxic dust from an old cement-manufacturing plant are flowing into Lake Michigan. Is that what we can expect at the CEMEX cement plant someday?

Show Slides of Tourism Things while reading below

Hernando County is at a crossroads. The county is investing millions to attract Nature Coast tourism of all kinds – birders, bikers, boaters, hikers, campers and those who want to enjoy our trails and natural areas.

Now, with the investment in Chinsegut Hill Manor and other recently renewed properties, historical and cultural tourism is growing in Hernando as well, and Brooksville is where the history is.

It’s time to get out of the stone age and start building this kind of a sustainable economy into the future.


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