Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Air Resource Management, Office of Permitting and Compliance
2600 Blair Stone Road, MS#5505
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2400
I am a resident of Brooksville in Hernando County, along with 7,100 other residents of our county seat who live near the CEMEX Brooksville South Cement Plant. I am opposed to issuing this permit to allow the coal burning plant to continue to operate. It is a threat to my health, the health of others, and the environment. Exposure to even small amounts of mercury can have major public health impacts, especially to children and pregnant women.
Many of us have invested our life earnings in our homes in this area. Mercury emissions from this plant have violated air quality regulations regularly over the past 15 years. Asthma rates for children in Hernando County are among the highest in the state with no other major source of pollution in the area and an absence of heavy vehicular traffic other than cement trucks.
On July 3, 2015, the latest Consent Order was issued for this plant for an air quality violation that occurred over two years ago. Perhaps others have occurred since then. Prior to that CEMEX paid over a million dollars for 18 air quality violations at this plant that occurred from 2001 to 2011. Rather than retire the plant then, CEMEX was allowed to add wood to the power plant to reduce harmful emissions. Biomass plants produce nearly 50% more carbon dioxide than coal-burning plants and more than double the nitrogen oxide, soot, carbon monoxide and volatile organic matter as coal plants.
CEMEX has failed to disclose blasting violations for lime rock mining activities near Brooksville, failed to report violations of air emissions at the cement plant, and misled county commissioners. There is every likelihood that similar violations will occur in the future if this plant is allowed to continue to operate, even if updated monitoring equipment is installed. Monitoring alone is no assurance that violations will not occur if you continue to allow the use of coal burning and biomass as is currently used. This permit would allow up to 200 pounds per year of mercury emissions by law and potentially much more if past performance is any indicator.
Furthermore, I request that you hold a public hearing on this matter to explain what is being done to insure our protection in the future. Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
Victor J Oexmann Jr
4187 Diaz Ct
Hernando Beach, Fl. 34607